Date: Saturday June 7
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium
Titans: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Brad Tighe, Brad Takairangi, David Mead, Maurice Blair, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Matt Srama, Nate Myles (c), Greg Bird (c), David Taylor, Ben Ridge. Interchange: Matthew White, Luke Bailey, Mark Minichiello, Paul Carter, James Roberts
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Isaah Yeo, David Simmons, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Sam McKendry, James Segeyaro, Brent Kite, Sika Manu, Tyrone Peachey, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore, Nigel Plum, Bryce Cartwright
Penrith edged out Gold Coast in their round 6 clash with a 14-12 victory. Going into the game it was the Titans aiming for four consecutive wins. Now it’s Penrith looking to win their fourth in a row when they travel to Robina on Saturday evening.
It’s a Panthers side gaining confidence in attack by the week. Last week that Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace orchestrated a crushing win over rivals Parramatta in front of a big home crowd. Josh Mansour put in an exceptional performance as he is closely watched by New South Wales selectors in the lead up to Origin II. Matt Moylan continues to be safe at the back and is looking dangerous in attack as each week passes by. The forward pack, despite the loss of Adam Docker for a second consecutive week is strong. They will need to dominate the forward battle if they are to go on and win the game. It could be Tyrone Peachey that is the game-breaker as he lurks on the fringes against a tiring Titans pack. I expect Penrith will play another attacking game and back themselves on being solid in defense and forcing Titans errors.
The Gold Coast have been disappointing as they stare down the barrel of a fourth straight loss. They hung on for sixty minutes against the Warriors two weeks back in a game where they lost five-eighth Aiden Sezer to a long-term pectoral injury. Another blow for the Titans who are without Ashley Harrison and Beau Falloon. There are question marks about the fitness of Nate Myles on game eve. For the Titans it will be Dave Taylor who will be looking for a big game as he presses for Queensland Origin selection in game II. I expect he will play out wide and try and run at Soward, Wallace and Peachey. Greg Bird is also a welcome return for the Titans and is in a similar situation to Taylor but looking for Blues selection. He will resume his duel with Sika Manu. Zillman, Gordon and Mead are all capable of putting points on the board, providing Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair get the ball out to them. But it will be the Titans who will want to play a grinding forward game. If they dominate in the forwards and contain the Panthers halves, they could be on their way to an upset win.
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Penrith quite possibly could run away with this if they are able to get the ball out to the wings. Their halves pairing in Wallace and Soward to be pivotal in victory.