Round 3, 2014 NYC
Saturday 22nd March
Venue: Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith
Ref: David Munro
It will be desperation footy at its best tomorrow when the Panthers young guns take on the Bulldogs at Sportingbet Stadium. Both sides go into the game winless after two rounds, despite flashes of brilliance and a lot of try-scoring.
Last weekend, Penrith’s game against Melbourne was as messy as it gets. The ball hit the ground more times than it was passed between hands, and we paid dearly for it. We were 20 points behind by half time and despite a gallant comeback attempt in the second half, it wasn’t enough. The Bulldogs on the other hand, took a 20-4 lead into the half time break in their match against Cronulla, but the Sharks gave it to them in the second half to come away with a two point win.
Panthers coach Trent Barrett will be looking for a lot more discipline this week, especially with ball handling, as silly mistakes and forced errors keep letting us down. He will also be looking for a lot more consistency. In previous weeks, there have been flashes of brilliance from our boys, but they have been short-lived and very sporadic.
Barrett has made a few changes to his line up, shifting a couple of players around to trial a few new combos. Brent Naden moves from fullback to centre, Naya Freeman will play on the wing, and Atonio Pelesasa and Myles Taueli will be our props. Bryce Cartwright pulled up well after his first game of the year and he’ll be back in the #12 jersey, as halfback Sam Scarlett.
The Bulldogs will also be keen to show off a little more maturity on the field, having blown half time leads in both of their season matches so far. Like the Panthers, they have a habit of playing extremely well for one half, and then struggling through the second 40 minutes.
Penrith will have to keep an eye on centre Michael Morgan who scored three tries before the half time siren last week. They will need to shut him down and make sure he doesn’t get too much room to move, otherwise there’ll be no stopping him.
If the Panthers can hold onto the ball and stamp out silly handling errors, we will have a good chance of posting a win tomorrow. We have the experience and the talent to be a very dangerous side, and if we get a chance to play in a way we’re comfortable with, we should put first points on the board.
INTERCHANGE: 14. Moses LEOTA, 15. Jordan HALL, 16. Wellington ALBERT, 17. Jarrod BRACKENHOFER, 18. Regan HAIKA, 19. Jordan STRATTON