In a round 16 NRL clash, the Penrith Panthers will host the Manly Sea Eagles this Saturday at Panthers Stadium. Both sides come of a loss, with the Panthers slipping to third on the ladder in the process and the Sea Eagles sitting in 14th.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Panthers took on the Roosters at Allianz Stadium in round 15. The Panthers struggled early, conceding three tries in the opening 15 minutes and falling behind 18-0. They hit back however with their first real chance of the game with a try to Dean Whare, but that would be their only score. Both sides struggled in defence resulting in the four early tries. A couple of injury scares halted the momentum of the game, and two second half tries to the Roosters was enough to ensure a 32-8 win. The Panthers were put to the sword, and failed to retain much of the ball with only 33 per cent possession and committing 14 errors.
Manly took on the Dragons at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, with a tough task ahead to take down the competition leaders. Manly were strong enough in the first half, only down 10-8 thanks to a 33rd minute try from Tom Wright. Manly had many scoring opportunities throughout the match, but failed to convert. The second half was a different story, with three tries in 17 minutes that put the Dragons up 28-8. Ben Hunt was a big part of the home side’s offence, setting up two tries. Manly struggled to keep the ball in hand and complete their sets, falling short of the Dragons in both categories. A late try to Nene Macdonald sealed the win for the Dragons 32-8.
James Tamou starts for Reagan Campbell-Gillard, with Moses Leota joining the interchange. Viliame Kikau returns from injury and starts in the back row with Corey Harawira-Naera out.
Dylan Walker returns at five-eighth with Trent Hodkinson benched. Brad Parker replaces Akuila Uate who is out for the season. Manase Fainu has again been named at hooker with Matt Wright also benched, with Tom Wright dropping to the reserves.
As much as James Maloney is heavily regarded as the centre for any hales pairing he is part of, the rise of Nathan Cleary and eventual stardom he will encounter makes any game he is in intriguing. On the other side, Daly Cherry-Evans has been a hero for the Sea Eagles over the years, making for a great battle in this game.
Cleary may not have been an outstanding presence in New South Wales’ Origin win, but the fact is he was a part of that team that seems to have dispatched the Queensland dynasty for good. His form has continued to rise since his debut season in 2016, and he will no doubt be a constant for years to come in the Penrith and Blues camps.
Cherry-Evans is the only Manly player to remain in the side since their last premiership in 2011, and his work for the side cannot be overstated. Regardless of whether he is described as a cancer in the locker, Manly click when he is in form.
The Panthers have won six of the past seven matchups with the Sea Eagles; their most recent a 22-10 win in 2017’s finals series.
Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Tyrone Peachey, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 James Maloney (c), 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 James Tamou, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 Jack Hetherington, 17 Moses Leota Reserves: 18 Jarome Luai, 20 Tyrone May, 21 Nick Lui-Toso
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Bradley Parker, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Manase Fainu, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Frank Winterstein, 13 Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14 Trent Hodkinson, 15 Matthew Wright, 16 Shaun Lane, 17 Taniela Paseka Reserves: 18 Thomas Wright, 20 Toafofoa Sipley
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 30th June
Venue: Panthers Stadium, Penrith
Kickoff: 3:00 pm
Match Officials: Gerrard Sutton, Matt Noyen (assistant)
WHO WILL WIN?
The Sea Eagles have shown glimpses this year of how great they can be, but inconsistency has overshadowed that. The Panthers on the other hand will be without Regan Campbell-Gillard which is a huge loss, ad wee worrying in their huge loss to the Panthers. But being at home and an overall stronger season than the Sea Eagles so far should see them grab a win. Panthers by 10.