NRL match preview: Canterbury Bulldogs vs Penrith Panthers

Date: Friday August 1
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick-off: 7:45pm


Bulldogs: Sam Perrett, Corey Thompson, Moses Mbye, Timoteo Lafai, Mitch Brown, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Sam Kasiano, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Josh Jackson, Tony Williams, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Reni Maitua, Dale Finucane, David Klemmer, Lloyd Perrett

Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, David Simmons, William Smith, Jamie Soward, Nigel Plum, James Segeyaro, Brent Kite, Sika Manu, Elijah Taylor, Adam Docker. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore, Bryce Cartwright, Sam McKendry, Isaah Yeo


Friday night’s clash between Canterbury and Penrith has added importance.  One of these two teams will stay in reach of front runners Manly with the other potentially dropping back as far as sixth spot depending on how Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm fare.  Given that both sides failed to record wins in their last two outings, this game will provide a boost to either sides finals campaign.

Canterbury has suffered back to back defeats at the hands of Wests Tigers and North Queensland.  They are bolstered by the return of Josh Reynolds after serving a ban for a shoulder charge.  Tony Williams will start in the second row, Greg Eastwood from lock.  David Klemmer adds bulk to a bench including Dale Finucane and Reni Maitua.  The Reynolds-Hodgkinson halves pairing will be vital to the Dogs chances.  Expect them to play a forward dominated battle with the Panthers pack struggling as we head into the back end of this season.

Penrith have come off losses to Sydney Roosters and Cronulla, a game they should have won.  The news that Peter Wallace is out for the season has put a dent in their finals hopes.  Ivan Cleary has gone to the successful NSW Cup side and selected former Novacastrian Will Smith to debut at five-eighth.  The news isn’t all bad.  David Simmons and Josh Mansour return to the side and give the Panthers tryscoring power out wide.  Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Kevin Naiqama drop out of the side.  Adam Docker after missing last week’s game starts at lock.  This means there’s no spot for Isaah Yeo in the side.  It could be Bryce Cartwright who spearheads the Panthers to victory coming off the bench.  His offloading against a tiring Dogs defense might be the factor in getting the Panthers home.


Penrith got home in the last match with a Matt Moylan sideline conversion after full time.  If the Canterbury forwards dominate, they will win the contest.  If Penrith match the Bulldogs in the middle of the field, they have too much experience out wide.  Penrith by 2.

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