Date:Saturday, June 14, 2014
Venue:Centrebet Stadium, penrith
Panthers:1.Matt Moylan 2.Josh Mansour 3.Dean Whare 4.Isaah Yeo 5.Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6.Jamie Soward 7.Peter Wallace (c) 8.Sam Mckendry 9.James Segeyaro 10.Brent Kite 11.Tyrone Peachey 12.Sika Manu 13.Elijah Taylor Interchange:14.Lewis Brown 15.Jeremy Latimore 16.Nigel Plum 17.Bryce Cartwright
1.Adam Quinlan 2.Peter Mata’utia 3.Charly Runciman 4.Gerard Beale
5.Jason Nightingale 6.Gareth Widdop 7.Benji Marshall 8.Ben Creagh (c) 9.Mitch Rein 10.Mike Cooper 11.Leeson Ah Mau 12.Joel Thompson 13.Tyson Frizell Interchange: 14.Jack de Belin 15.Will Matthews 16.Shane Pumipi 17.Bronson Harrison 18.Craig Garvey
The stage is set for a spicy clash when former Dragons premiership-winning five eighth Jamie Soward welcomes his old side to the foot of the mountains in this Saturday afternoon clash.
Soward has been in excellent form of late, guiding the Panthers to 4 straight wins, while the Dragons returned to the winners’ circle with a 30-0 shut-out of the Sharks.
Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin are away with the NSW Blues, so boom youngster Charly Runciman gets his first taste of NRL in 2014 and Tyson Frizell starts the game at lock for the visitors.
For the Panthers, reliable winger David Simmons is out, as is second rower Adam Docker, replaced by Dallin Wetene-Zelezniak, who had a memorable debut earlier in the year, and in-form second rower Tyrone Peachey.
The Panthers will need to be wary of a confident Marshall who had a hand in 5 Dragons tries against the Sharks and when he is in form, anything can happen.
The Panthers have surged to the top of the NRL ladder and have one the bests halves pairings in the NRL; the experience of Soward and Peter Wallace has worked perfectly for the Panthers so far.
Add in live wire hooker James Segeyaro and outstanding young fullback Matt Moylan and you have all the ingredients for a really good rugby league side.
The Dragons have found some form,albeit against an understrength Sharks, so they will have some confidence heading into this one and a win against the top of the table Panthers could really kick start their season. But I don’t think they are at the level required to play consistently week in week out and the Panthers should get home.
Panthers by 8.