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2021 NRL Round 14 Preview, Sharks Vs Panthers

Jem Nash previews the round 14 clash between the Sharks and Panthers in Kogarah on Friday night. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Date: Friday, June 11, Time: 7:55pm AEST

Sharks

1. William Kennedy
2. Connor Tracey
3. Will Chambers
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Ronaldo Mulitalo
6. Matt Moylan
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Aaron Woods
11. Briton Nikora
12. Wade Graham
13. Toby Rudolf
14. Braydon Trindall
15. Siosifa Talakai
16. Jack Williams
17. Andrew Fifita
18. Teig Wilton
19. Chad Townsend
20. Franklin Pele
21. Mawene Hiroti

Team Changes

IN: Andrew Fifita
OUT: Franklin Pele

Panthers

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

Team Changes

IN: Apisai Korisau, Moses Leota
OUT: Jaeman Salmon, Lindsay Smith

Referee: Ashley Klein

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Sharks

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Andrew Fifita comes onto the bench in place of Franklin Pele in the only change for the Sharks. They come into this match on the back of the bye and two straight wins. Their most recent victory came in a dominant 38-10 win over the Titans two weeks ago, where the halves pairing of Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan shined. Cronulla currently sit just one win out of the top eight, and have a perfect chance to continue their strong run of form against what is expected to be an under strength Panthers side.

Panthers

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The Panthers will be keen to make amends for their poor showing last week which resulted in a 26-6 loss, their first of the season. They might have been undermanned but they will still have higher expectations of themselves than what they showed against the Tigers. They receive a boost this week with Koroisau returning to the team at dummy half, as well as starting prop Moses Leota coming back from suspension. The rest of their Origin players have been named on an extended bench, but are still unlikely to play at this stage.

PREVIEW

This match is expected to be a lot closer than the 48-0 thrashing the Panthers handed to the Sharks back in round nine. With the Panthers halves once again expected not to play, their forwards are going to have to step up to help give the inexperienced partnership of Burton and May. The Tigers outgained the Panthers by almost 300 metres last week, and that simply can’t happen again if Penrith want to bounce back. The return of Leota should help in this regard as he partners back up with Fisher-Harris, but they face a tough forward pack for the Sharks with the likes of Toby Rudolf and Wade Graham.

Whichever forward pack can get on top will play a big role in the result, while the halves battle will also be intriguing to watch. Moylan and Johnson have the ability to create something out of nothing and their combination continues to improve each week, while this will be just the second game May and Burton have played together. Neither player was anywhere near their best last week against the Tigers and they will be keen to bounce back in an important game for the Panthers.

KEY STAT

The two sides have split their last eight matches with a 4-4 record. However, the Panthers have won the last four contests, including the 48-0 drubbing earlier this season.

PREDICTION

Panthers by 4

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