Date: Sunday 29 June
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium
Kick off: 4pm (NZ)
Warriors: Sam Tomkins, David Fusitu’a, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Sam Rapira, Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (capt), Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Feleti Mateo, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Charlie-Paul Gubb.
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Isaah Yeo, Kevin Naiqama, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Sam McKendry, James Segeyaro, Brent Kite, Sika Manu, Elijah Taylor, Adam Docker. Interchange: Tyrone Peachey, Jeremy Latimore, Nigel Plum, Lewis Brown, Bryce Cartwright (one to be omitted).
The Penrith Panthers at the top of the NRL table and will be doing battle with one of the big underachievers of the season this weekend when they travel to Mount Smart stadium to face 10th placed New Zealand Warriors.
After a tough opening to the season, the hosts will be desperate to build on their recent upturn in fortunes and earn another victory which will bring them closer to a top eight place, but, they will face a Panthers side who will be determined to retain their spot at the top of the league ladder.
Penrith’s team work has been at the core of their success so far this season with arguably no outstanding individual performers catching the eye on a weekly basis. Remarkably, after 15 rounds there are no Panthers players in the competition’s top five for try scorers, try assists, tackles, line breaks or hit-ups.
The Warriors, meanwhile, showed their solidity with a hard-earned 19-10 win against Brisbane last weekend, despite a less than convincing performance and grinding out victories like they managed last week could be key to their hopes of making the top eight.
Former Super League star Sam Tomkins is yet to reach his best in the NRL and, having seemingly settled in his new life on the other side of the world, this could be a game where he begins to show what he can really do, if so, Warriors fans can be confident of a win, but they could face a tough task against a well-drilled outfit in Penrith. Either way, both sets of fans should be expecting a tight battle.
Penrith 16 – 10 New Zealand Warriors