Panthers v Bulldogs
Sportingbet Stadium, Saturday, March 22
Referee: Daniel Olford
After back to back losses, the Panthers NSW Cup side will be throwing everything – including the kitchen sink – at the Bulldogs tomorrow at Sportingbet Stadium, as they fight to get a win under their belt for the 2014 season. Their first two games against the Knights and Wyong were disappointing, and coach Garth Brennan has had a lot to say about their lacklustre performances.
Completing sets, and consistency have been major issues for our boys this year. We have the talent and the expertise in the side to play exciting football, but careless and lazy on-field plays have cost us. We have a handful of players with first grade experience who are bringing a lot of depth to the side, but we’re struggling to settle in as a team. Let’s hope the chemistry is where we need it to be tomorrow!
Some good news – we welcome Wes Naiqama back into the side following his pec injury suffered during the Auckland Nines tournament. Will Smith will be back at five-eighth after a brilliant performance last weekend, Shaun Spence and Sam Anderson are ready and raring to go as our enforcers, and young gun Isaah Yeo will round out the centres with Tom Eisenhuth. Anthony Cherrington also returns on the bench after completing a suspension handed to him during last year’s NSW Cup grand final.
On the other side of the park, the Bulldogs have a win and a loss under their belts. They bounced back from a round 1 defeat to overcome Manly by 22 points last weekend, despite trailing at the half time break. They’re fielding an unchanged line up from last week and they’re working under a new coach too, with Andy Patmore officially replacing Barry Ward as the man in charge. Patmore has proved to be a very handy mentor for the young pups coming up through the Canterbury-Bankstown club, and he has a good relationship with a lot of them.
The Panthers will need to be on their game from the kick-off, and can’t afford to be lazy. This Bulldogs outfit will run rings around any opposition if they’re given the chance, so Penrith will need to keep defence tight and attacking plays direct and powerful, if they want any chance of breaking them down.
INTERCHANGE: 14. Reagan CAMPBELL-GILLARD, 15. Liam AYOUB, 16. Leilani LATU, 17. Anthony CHERRINGTON