NRL match preview: Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys

Date: Monday August 18
Venue: SportingBet Stadium
Kick-off: 7pm


Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, David Simmons, William Smith, Jamie Soward, Nigel Plum, James Segeyaro, Sam McKendry, Sika Manu, Isaah Yeo, Adam Docker. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore, Matt Robinson, Tim Grant

Cowboys: Michael Morgan, Tautau Moga, Matthew Wright, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Robert Lui, Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, Rory Kostjasyn, Ashton Sims, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Glenn Hall. Interchange: Ray Thompson, Scott Bolton, Gavin Cooper, Sam Hoare


Penrith host North Queensland in the final National Rugby League match of round twenty-three in a game that could go a long way in determining who finishes in the top four.  Penrith all but ended the Dragons finals campaign with a solid defensive effort in winning 16-4 at WIN Stadium last Sunday.  The Cowboys head into the clash winning four of their last five matches including last weekend’s 64-6 demolition of Wests Tigers at 1300 Smile Stadium.

The home side are seven wins from eight matches at SportingBet Stadium in 2014.  Injuries to Peter Wallace, Tyrone Peachey, Elijah Taylor, Brent Kite and Bryce Cartwright have come at the wrong end of the season.  Thankfully for Penrith their NSW Cup side are in form and have already secured the minor premiership.  Tim Grant and Matt Robinson will be better for last week’s run as Ivan Cleary named an unchanged squad.  Penrith’s hopes again rest on the shoulders of Jamie Soward, Matt Moylan and James Segeyaro.  Look out for a smart jersey from the Panthers to celebrate Close the Gap round.

For North Queensland they are looking to extend their winning streak against the Panthers to five matches.  Last year they won 30-0 in Townsville before a 36-4 victory on an unbeaten run into last years finals series.  Tariq Sims was unable to beat his charge from the match review committee at the judiciary midweek.  Coach Paul Green saying post hearing the judiciary decision was “really surprising”.  Sims will be the only forced change for the the Cowboys from last week’s side.  Don’t be surprised if James Tamou returns from injury to replace Sims.  Expect Johnathan Thurston to step up in the same way that Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne have for their respective teams already this round.  Matt Scott is in punishing form and Gavin Cooper off the bench gives the Cowboys another attacking weapon.  This is possibly North Queensland’s best squad given season ending injuries to Lachlan Coote, Brent Tate and Cameron King.


Panthers by 7

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