Injuries have hit the Rabbitohs hard while the Panthers are riding high after three straight wins. Jem Nash previews …..
TEAM FORM GUIDE
South Sydney Rabbitohs
After starting the season in red hot for, including a seven-win streak, but they come into this match on the back of two straight losses. They have been hit hard by the Origin period but also injuries. Adam Reynolds and Alex Johnston have all missed time while Sam Burgess will now get surgery on his shoulder, while Tom Burgess will miss this clash through suspension.
After slumping to five straight losses, the Panthers have managed to turn their form around and win the next three, including a big win over the reigning premiers last week. They haven’t been perfect performances but the side seems to be playing with much more intensity and enthusiasm. Young guns Liam Martin and Mitch Kenny have been a big part of the turnaround.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Cody Walker returns at five-eighth, while Kyle Turner comes back into the side at centre, shifting Dane Gagai onto the wing. Liam Knight and Ethan Lowe come into the starting side in place of the suspended Tom Burgess and injured Sam Burgess. Corey Allan is named at fullback but Alex Johnston is a good chance of returning from injury this week. Mark Nicholls, Dean Britt and Tom Amone all come onto the bench.
South Sydney Rabbitohs squad: 1 Corey Allan, 2 Dane Gagai, 3 James Roberts, 4 Kyle Turner, 5 Campbell Graham, 6 Cody Walker,7 Adam Doueihi, 8 George Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Liam Knight, 11 John Sutton, 12 Ethan Lowe, 13 Cameron Murray Interchange: 14 Tevita Tatola, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 Dean Britt, 17 Tom Amone Reserves: 18 Rhys Kennedy, 19 Connor Tracey, 20 Alex Johnston, 21 Mawene Hiroti
The Panthers are unchanged from their last start win over the Roosters. The only change is Reagan Campbell-Gillard moving back onto the bench.
Penrith Panthers squad: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Isaah Yep, 4 Brent Naden, 5 Brian To’o, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Mitchell Kenny, 10 James Fisher-Harris, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Frank Winterstein, 13 Liam Martin Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Jarome Luai, 16 Moses Leota, 17 Reagan Campbell-Gillard Reserves: 18 Caleb Aekins, 19 Kaide Ellis, 20 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 21 Jed Cartwright
HEAD TO HEAD
The Panthers and Rabbitohs met back in Round Seven, the Rabbitohs winning 22-18. The Rabbitohs dominated for the majority of the contest, with a late fight back from the Panthers not enough to come back. With the Panthers playing much better footy and the Rabbitohs missing a host of stars the result could be very different this time around.
It’s hard to go past the battle between the current New South Wales five-eighth and the man trying to take back his spot. Cody Walker has been in sublime form throughout the 2019 season but struggled in his debut in the Origin arena. The pressure is right on Walker this week as he will need to lead the way without Adam Reynolds in the side.
After struggling to start the season, James Maloney has returned to some career best form over the last two weeks and was a key factor in the Panthers win over the Roosters last week. This match could not only decide the outcome of this match but who takes the number six jersey for Origin game two.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday, June 15
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Adam Gee, Jon Stone
WHO WILL WIN?
Just a fortnight ago, nearly everyone would’ve tipped an easy win for the Rabbitohs, but how things can change in just a short time. Cody Walker should be fired up after a disappointing showing in Origin but with a host of other stars missing the job could be too difficult. The Panthers have turned a corner in the last month and with Maloney and Nathan Cleary returning to form, they should be able to get the job done.
Panthers by 6