Round 5, 2014 NRL Premiership
Saturday 5th April
Venue: Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith
Refs: Adam Devcich & Chris James
PANTHERS: 1.Matt MOYLAN, 2.Dallin WATENE-ZELEZNIAK, 3.Dean WHARE, 4.Jamal IDRIS, 5.Josh MANSOUR, 6.Jamie SOWARD, 7.Peter WALLACE (C), 8.Tim GRANT, 9.Kevin KINGSTON (C), 10.Sam MCKENDRY, 11.Sika MANU, 12.Elijah TAYLOR, 13.Adam DOCKER
INTERCHANGE: 14. James SEGEYARO, 15. Jeremy LATIMORE, 16. Nigel PLUM, 17. Lewis BROWN, 18. Tyrone PEACHEY
RAIDERS: 1. Anthony MILFORD, 2. Reece ROBINSON, 3. Jarrod CROKER, 4. Matt ALLWOOD, 5. Bill TUPOU, 6. Jack WIGHTON, 7. Terry CAMPESE (C), 8. David SHILLINGTON, 9. Glen BUTTRISS, 10. Brett WHITE, 11. Jarrad KENNEDY, 12. Joel EDWARDS, 13. Shaun FENSOM
INTERCHANGE: 14. Josh MCCRONE, 15. Paul VAUGHAN, 16. Dane TILSE, 17. Shannon BOYD
The Panthers will be looking to keep their perfect home game record alive when they take on the Raiders tomorrow evening at Sportingbet Stadium. Over the years, these two sides have been pretty evenly matched with Penrith winning 31 of their 64 clashes, and Canberra winning 32. Last year, they each won their home games against each other.
The Mountain Men will be looking to rectify last weekend’s disappointing performance against the Eels which Coach Ivan Cleary admitted was their worst game of the season. Our defence was abysmal - missing more than 120 tackles - and we couldn’t create the opportunities near our line that we had in previous weeks. It’s prompted a few changes in the side, first and foremost being the promotion of young Dallin Watene-Zelezniak from NSW Cup to the wing for his first grade debut, replacing the injured David Simmons.
Peter Wallace returns from injury to pair up with Jamie Soward in the halves, Josh Mansour is back on the wing replacing Kevin Naiqama who drops back to NSW Cup, and Tim Grant and Sika Manu named in the starting line-up. On paper, this will be the strongest team the Panthers have fielded this year.
While everything went wrong for Panthers last week, it was a very different story for Canberra who pummelled Souths 30-18, in a game where everything went right for them. They completed 92% of their sets and only made a handful of errors in the whole 80 minutes.
They’ll head into tomorrow’s game quietly confident, but looking for a little more consistency, and they will also be buoyed by the news that Shaun Fensom and Joel Edwards look set to play after overcoming injuries.
If the Panthers can return to the sleek, well-oiled machine that they were in rounds one to three, if our defence is up to scratch and we give a good second half performance, we will have a good chance at overcoming the classy Raiders outfit.