Jem Nash previews this massive Friday Night clash as the red hot Cowboys take on the top of the table Panthers at BlueBet Stadium.
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Robert Jennings 19. Chris Smith 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Sean O’Sullivan 22. Matthew Eisenhuth 23. Soni Luke 24. Charlie Staines
There is no change to the Panthers side for the fourth week in a row.Embed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Coen Hess 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame 18. Taniela Sadrugu 19. Ben Hampton 20. Ben Condon 21. Connelly Lemuelu 22. Riley Price 23. Brendan Elliot 24. Brendan Frei
Kyle Feldt and Jason Taumalolo are both sidelined with knee injuries with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow coming onto the wing and and Coen Hess starting at lock. Jake Granville and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown are the two new players on the bench.
Referee: Ashley Klein
Two of the NRL’s hottest teams do battle in the match of the round as the Cowboys look to further prove themselves against the ladder leaders. A win against the Panthers would cement them as premiership contenders after impressive wins over the Storm and Eels this season.
The Cowboys boast the third best attack in the competition behind the Storm and Panthers but its their defence that has got them to where they are now. After having one of the worst defensive records last season, they have massively turned things around this year. The Cowboys have conceded just 131 points through 11 games, only three points more than the Panthers in first.
After a disappointing loss to the Eels, the Panthers have been back to their best over the past fortnight, highlighted by season best form from five eighth Jarome Luai. For the Cowboys, halfback Chad Townsend has proved to be one of the buys of the season, providing plenty of composure for a team full of plenty of young talent. If he can outplay his opposite number in Cleary, they will have a great chance.
In what should be an incredibly close thriller, home field advantage might be the difference.Embed from Getty Images
Recent history between these two sides has been quite even, with the Panthers and Cowboys winning five apiece of their last 10 matches.
Panthers by 6
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