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2021 NRL Round Five Preview, Panthers Vs Raiders

Jem Nash previews the round five clash between the Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders on Friday night. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Date: Friday, April 9, Time: 7:55pm AEST

Panthers Team

1. Stephen Crichton
2. Charlie Staines
3. Paul Momirovski
4. Matt Burton
5. Brian To’o
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Moses Leota
9. Mitch Kenny
10. James Fisher-Harris
11. Viliame Kikau
12. Kurt Capewell
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Tyrone May
15. Spencer Leniu
16. Matthew Eisenhuth
17. Liam Martin
18. Scott Sorensen
19. Robert Jennings
20. J’maine Hopgood
21. Jaeman Salmon

Team Changes

Unchanged

Raiders Team

1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
2. Bailey Simonsson
3. Jarrod Croker
4. Sebastian Kris
5. Jordan Rapana
6. Jack Wighton
7. George Williams
8. Josh Papalii
9. Josh Hodgson
10. Ryan Sutton
11. Hudson Young
12. Elliott Whitehead
13. Joseph Tapine
14. Tom Starling
15. Siliva Havili
16. Iosia Soliola
17. Ryan James
18. Sam Williams
19. Semi Valemei
20. Dunamis Lui
21. Corey Harawira-Naera

Team Changes

IN: Joseph Tapine
OUT: Dunamis Lui

Referee: Gerard Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Panthers

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The Panthers remain unchanged from their 46-6 demolition of the Sea Eagles last week. They never really got out of second gear in the big win a week ago, and currently sit on top of the ladder thanks to a fantastic points difference. Penrith have given up just 16 points across four games to kick off the 2021 season.

Raiders

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Joseph Tapine returns from injury with Dunamis Lui dropping out of the top 17 in the only change for the Raiders. Canberra bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Warriors in round three, producing a strong defensive effort against a dangerous Titans outfit. The 2019 grand finalists have shown they should be thereabouts once again in 2021, currently sitting in fifth position with three wins from their four starts.

PREVIEW

It will be a battle of two of the stronger forward packs in the competition when the Panthers and Raiders clash this weekend. James Fisher-Harris continues to be a workhorse for the Panthers while Moses Leota is relishing his time in the starting side, including a brilliant first stint in last week’s match where he amassed 116 metres on 12 runs and a try in just 21 minutes.

They come up against arguably the best prop in the competition in Josh Papalii, while Hudson Young, Elliott Whitehead and Joseph Tapine form one of the better back rows. The foundation will be laid in the middle of the field but one of the more intriguing battles comes between the halfbacks.

Nathan Cleary continues to garner most of the praise, and rightfully so, but he comes up against an underrated opponent in George Williams. The English import continues to impress for the Raiders, and remains extremely important to his team’s success. It will be up to the halfbacks to control proceedings and allow their partners to play their dangerous off-the-cuff style, where both Jarome Luai and Jack Wighton both thrive.

KEY STAT

The Panthers hold the advantage over the Raiders in recent years, having won five of their past seven matches.

PREDICTION

Panthers by eight.

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