Round 2, 2014 NRL Premiership
Saturday 15th March
Venue: AAMI Park
Refs: Ashley Klein & Adam Gee
LAST TIME THEY MET – Penrith defeated Melbourne 12-10 @ Centrebet Stadium
HEAD TO HEAD – Played 26; Melbourne 19, Penrith 7
PANTHERS: 1. Matt Moylan, 2. Josh Mansour, 3. Dean Whare, 4. Isaah Yeo, 5. David Simmons, 6. Jamie Soward, 7. Peter Wallace©, 8. Brent Kite, 9. Kevin Kingston ©, 10. Nigel Plum, 11. Lewis Brown, 12. Elijah Taylor, 13. Adam Docker
Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro, 15. Jeremy Latimore, 16. Tyrone Peachey, 17. Sam McKendry
STORM: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Sisa Waqa, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Mahe Fonua, 5. Young Tonumaipea, 6. Ben Hampton, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith ©, 10. Bryan Norrie, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Ryan Hoffman, 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich, 15. Tohu Harris, 16. Jordan McLean, 17. George Rose, 18. Ben Roberts
The Panthers travel to Melbourne for their round 2 clash against the Storm this week, and what a blockbuster match this promises to be! Both sides posted wins in round 1, and they’ve named equally strong teams for Saturday’s clash.
The Storm will have the home ground advantage, they’ll be buoyed by the re-signing of Captain Cameron Smith this week, and they will also have Cooper Cronk back at halfback following his shoulder surgery. Apart from that change, it will be the same team that beat Manly in golden point extra time last week.
Melbourne came back from a 20 point deficit to win the game by 1 point thanks to a Smith drop goal in the dying minutes. They struggled with defence in the first half but made up for it in attack in the second half. Sisa Waqa scored two tries and Billy Slater was deadly when given some space, so these will be the players Penrith has to shut down if they’re to defend their goal line.
The last time these two sides met, Penrith narrowly defeated the Storm 12-10 at home, in their only 2013 meeting. It was the first time we’d posted a win over the Storm in almost 8 years. The Panthers will have to be on the ball if they’re to get the upper hand in this match. The Storm trio of Smith, Cronk and Slater will be reunited, and we’ve all seen what they can do when they put their minds to it. Defence will be the key for us in every corner of the field.
In saying that, if we played like we did against Newcastle last week we will have a very good chance of overcoming our southern opponants. We made the most of our time with the ball, and despite a few penalties, we completed our sets cleanly and rarely let the Knights get within 20m of their line. We defended extremely well throughout the entire match and only let one try in.
This week, our big hitters Nigel Plum, Brent Kite, Sam Mckendry and Jeremy Latimore are all fit and will be at their brutal best, and Matt Moylan will again guide the team from the fullback position.
Young Isaah Yeo, who made his first grade debut last weekend has been named in the centres again after an impressive first showing. The Jamie Soward – Peter Wallace combo in the halves also worked well and Ivan Cleary is keen to see more of that in action. We also have a very strong bench to add some depth and energy to the side.
Jamal Idris and Tim Grant haven’t been named this week with the coaching staff wanting to ensure they are fully fit before taking the field. Both are overcoming minor leg injuries.
All in all, Penrith is looking good and we will definitely put up a good fight against a confident and experienced Storm outfit.