Round 1, 2014 NYC

Saturday 8th March

Kickoff: 12.15pm

Venue: Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith

LAST TIME THEY MET – Penrith beat Newcastle 30-4 in round 19 last year. We also won our other game against the Knights in 2013, coming away with a 30-14 in round 6.

TEAMS

PANTHERS: 1.Brent NADEN, 2.Joshua JAY, 3.Jarryd DODD, 4.Regan HAIKA, 5.Solofa SILIPA, 6.Matt BOSS, 7.Jarrod BRACKENHOFER, 8.Andy SAUNDERS, 9.Josh TANGITAU, 10.Atonio PELESASA, 11.Chris SMITH, 12.Brendan ATTWOOD, 13.Sione KATOA. INTERCHANGE: 14. Corey HARAWIRA, 15. Myles TAUELI, 16. Jordan STRATTON, 17. Wellington ALBERT, 18. Moses LEOTA

KNIGHTS: 1. Jake Mamo, 2. Bryce Donovan, 3. Sione Mata'utia, 4. Chance Peni, 5. Josh Birch, 6. Jacob Gagai, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 8. Jah Pakau, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Tuiala Togiatasi, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Luke Yates, 13. Joe Boyce. Interchange: 14. James De Saxe, 15. Brad Russell , 16. Josh King, 17. Tama Koopu

Trent Barrett heads up a very new Under 20’s squad for the Panthers this year. Just two of the 18 players named for this weekend’s game were in last year’s Premiership winning team. But that’s not to say we don’t have talent in the side, and we’re quietly confident our young guys will give Newcastle a run for their money.

Andy Saunders, Chris Smith and Brendan Attwood will be the backbone of this side on Saturday. They have experience playing in the NYC and will be tasked with guiding the team against a strong and well-drilled Knights side, most of who played together last year.

One thing Penrith does boast is speed. Fullback Brent Naden, and wingers Josh Jay and Solofa Silipa are almost unstoppable when they have some room, and that will be the key to getting us over the line.

Andy Saunders and Atonio Pelesasa will be the workhorses needed to get us through Newcastle’s strong defensive line. Both are experienced and they have the knowledge and skill to get us there. Jarrod Brackenhofer and Matt Boss will be paired in the halves, and it should be very exciting to watch how they run the game.

Mention must also be made about Wellington Albert who will start on the interchange bench for us. He was a Gus Gould recruit after the World Cup, and has been very impressive in the short time he’s been with us. With a size 15 shoe, there’s not a lot that stops this towering centre from Papua New Guinea, and he will definitely leave a few bruises!

The Knights will field a strong, experienced and versatile side this weekend, and they’ll be looking to their forward pack to win them the game. If they start well and get the ball to their outside backs, they will be hard to shut down. They also have a couple of players who have been training with their NRL squad through the pre-season.

But the Panthers have speed and agility on their side, and if we can create enough space we will be able to get points on the board. Whatever the outcome, we’re most definitely in for an exciting 80 minutes of rugby league!