Jem Nash previews this round two clash between the Dragons and the Panthers as both teams look to make it to wins in a row to start the season.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Penrith Panthers
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Date: Friday March 18, 6:00pm AEST
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 19. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawire 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack De Belin 14. Moses Mbye 15. Josh Kerr 16. Jack Gosiewski 17. George Burgess 18. Jackson Ford 20. Tariq Sims 21. Mathew Feagai 22. Daniel Alvara 23. Poasa Faamausili 24. Tautau Moga 25. Jaidyen Hunt
Aaron Woods is out with a hamstring injury with Francis Molo taking his starting spot, with George Burgess set to make his Dragons first grade debut off the bench.Embed from Getty Images
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Spencer Leniu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. J’maine Hopgood 19. Chris Smith 20. Robert Jennings 21. Taylan May 22. Lindsay Smith 23. Soni Luke 24. Kurt Falls
Spencer Leniu comes into the starting side, replacing Moses Leota who will miss at least eight weeks with a shoulder injury. Matt Eisenhuth returns to the lineup on the bench.
Referee: Chris Sutton
The Dragons get to test their credentials early, coming off a 12-point victory over the Warriors in round one. They didn’t have it all their way in the win but there were plenty of positive signs from some of their young guns, Tyrell Sloan leading the way with a pair of try and line break assists, while also making a line break of his own. Mikaele Ravalawa was the star on the wing, bagging a hat-trick that proved to be the difference.
The Panthers picked up right where they left off last season in a dominant 28-6 win over the Sea Eagles. Without star halfback Nathan Cleary, Penrith rarely looked troubled thanks to an incredible defensive effort that rarely allowed Manly and Tom Trbojevic any space to work. In Cleary’s place, Sean O’Sullivan was particularly impressive while Isaah Yeo continues to prove why he’s one of the best forwards in the game with a best on ground performance.
The Panthers come into this game as heavy favourites and the Dragons will need another strong outing from Sloan, in an intriguing head to head matchup with Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards. The Dragons need to give Sloan plenty of ball once again as he will be key to breaking through one of the leagu’es best defences. Edwards is coming off a mammoth effort last week where he ran for 344 metres and Penrith will be expecting more of the same on Friday night.Embed from Getty Images
The Panthers and Dragons have split their last eight matches, but the reigning premiers have enjoyed wins in their past four clashes.
Panthers by 12
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