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2022 NRL Round 18 Preview, Tigers Vs Panthers

Jem Nash previews a Sunday afternoon clash between the Panthers and Tigers.

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MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Wests Tigers Vs Penrith Panthers
Venue: CommBank Stadium
Date: Sunday July 16, 2:00pm AEST

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Starford To’a 4. James Roberts 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Justin Matamua 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jackson Hastings 14. Fonua Pole 15. James Tamou 16. Luke Garner 17. Jake Simpkin 18. Austin Dias 19. Jock Madden 20. Junior Tupou 21. Asu Kepaoa 22. Alex Seyfarth

Some bold changes for the Tigers this week, as Adam Doueihi moves into the halves with Luke Brooks, while Jackson Hastings shifts to lock pushing Joe Ofahengaue into the front row. James Tamou returns from a calf injury along with Ken Maumalo so Junior Tupou drops to the reserves. Justin Matamua has been promoted to the starting side a week after making his debut while Fonua Pole and Luke Garner shift back to the bench with Stefano Utoikamanu out of the side.

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Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Robert Jennings 5. Charlie Staines 6. Kurt Falls 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Chris Smith 13. Matthew Eisenhuth 14. Soni Luke 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Sunia Turuva 19. J’maine Hopgood 20. Lindsay Smith 21. Thomas Jenkins 22. Christian Crichton

Ivan Cleary has made the decision to rest all seven of his Origin stars. Sean O’Sullivan and Kurt Falls take over in the halves, Robert Jennings starts at centre with Charlie Staines on the wing, while Mitch Kenny, Chris Smith and Matt Eisenhuth re-join the forward pack. Soni Luke is back on the bench for his third career game.

Referee: Peter Gough

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

It’s first against last in what looks to be a mismatch on paper, but with the Panthers resting all of their Origin representatives the Tigers have a terrific chance to pull off a big upset, as they did during the same period last season.

It’s a testament to the Panthers’ depth that with seven starters out they can still put forward a side with plenty of first grade experience. The pressure remains on the halves pairing of O’Sullivan and Falls. The pair were able to lead their side to a win over the Bulldogs back in round 13 and a similar showing should be able to do the same here against the Tigers.

For the Tigers, coach Brett Kimmorley has made a bold call to try a new halves pairing in Brooks and Doueihi while Jackson Hastings remains an interesting decision. Time will tell whether this new spine combination will turn their season around, while skipper James Tamou’s return should provide a much-needed boost to the forward pack.

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INTERESTING FACT

It’s been a polar opposite season for the two sides, with Panthers boasting the best attack in the competition averaging over 30 points a game, while the Tigers sit dead last, averaging just 13.6 points per game.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Panthers by 8

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