Jem Nash previews a massive grand final rematch as the Penrith Panthers take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Penrith Panthers Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Venue: BlueBet Stadium
Date: Friday, April 1, 8:05pm AEST
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Taylan May 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Matthew Eisenhuth 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Spencer Leniu 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Scott Sorensen 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. J’maine Hopgood 16. Lindsay Smith 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Robert Jennings 19. Liam Martin 20. Soni Luke 21. Eddie Blacker 22. Christian Crichton 23. Kurt Falls 24. James Fisher-Harris
Reigning Clive Churchill medalist Nathan Cleary returns for the Panthers in a massive boost for the home side. Scott Sorensen has been name in the starting team in place of Chris Smith who is out with a head knock, with Lindsay Smith coming onto the bench.Embed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Campbell Graham 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Jacob Host 15. Siliva Havili 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Liam Knight 18. Blake Taaffe 19. Davvy Moale 20. Josh Mansour 21. Richard Kennar 22. Dean Hawkins 23. Isaiah Tass 24. Peter Mamouzelos
The Rabbitohs are unchanged following their big win over the Roosters last week.
Referee: Ashley Klein
The big story here is the return of Cleary. While the Panthers remain the only undefeated team in the competition, there’s no doubting they have still missed his composure and kicking game in the halves. Sean O’Sullivan has performed well in his absence but Cleary provides a huge boost in a big Friday night clash.
It hasn’t been the best start for the Rabbitohs with losses to the Broncos and Storm to kick off the season, but they looked like they were getting back to their best in a strong win over the Roosters last week. Cameron Murray was superb in that victory with 141 metres and 44 tackles while Latrell Mitchell was also strong in a performance the Bunnies will be hoping he can recreate this weekend.
Mitchell goes head to head with Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards who has run for a whopping 725 metres through his first three games, almost 200 more than the next best. His strong kick returns always get the Panthers on the front foot to start their sets and allow their attacking weapons some good field position to create some scoring chances.
The Rabbitohs will be hoping to continue their momentum from their first win of the season last week and handing the Panthers their first loss would be a big scalp.Embed from Getty Images
The Panthers have won six of their past seven matches against the Rabbitohs, most recently their 14-12 triumph in last year’s grand final, that the Bunnies will no doubt want some revenge for.
Panthers by 8
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