Date: Sunday September 7
Venue: SportingBet Stadium
Kick-off: 6:30pm (local)
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, William Smith, Jamie Soward, Nigel Plum, James Segeyaro, Sam McKendry, Lewis Brown, Matt Robinson, Sika Manu. Interchange: Kierran Moseley, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Sam Anderson, Tim Grant
Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dominique Peyroux, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering, Sione Lousi. Interchange: Sam Rapira, Suaia Matagi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Jayson Bukuya, Feleti Mateo
The time scheduling may not suit these two teams but it’s fitting that Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors meet in the final game of the National Rugby League preliminary rounds. The equation is simple for both sides. No matter the result of North Queensland’s match against Manly, a win for Penrith will give them a much deserved top four finish. At worse, a loss may see Penrith fall as far as seventh. New Zealand Warriors are in eighth after Brisbane’s loss in Melbourne on Friday night. Victory will see them claim either seventh or eighth spot pending the result of Canterbury’s trip to the Gold Coast.
Penrith ran out of gas after a phenomenal effort against Manly at Brookvale Oval last Sunday. They’ve lost Adam Docker for the next two games following his suspension mid week on a dangerous tackle charge. Some relief for the Panthers with James Segeyaro to return after missing the last two matches following the passing of his father in Papua New Guinea. It’s also expected that Brent Kite will be a late inclusion in the side and it could be at the expense of Kierran Moseley. David Simmons was close to being right last week and if fit may replace Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for this clash.
New Zealand Warriors are coming off a 42-0 victory over the Gold Coast Titans last Sunday. They’ve won three of the last five but have struggled on the road with only four victories from eleven attempts. Their season has turned around with Andrew McFadden in charge and now they are in with a big chance of making the finals. He’s named the same seventeen as last week, adding Feleti Mateo to an extended bench.
The key match-up’s for this game are fullbacks Matt Moylan and Sam Tomkins, halfbacks Jamie Soward and Shaun Johnson, and Jamal Idris taking on Konrad Hurrell.
New Zealand Warriors won the last match between these two teams 30-20, but Penrith won the three matches before that including last year’s 62-6 victory at home.
Penrith to come away with their ninth victory at SportingBet Stadium in a close one by six points.