Round 7, 2014 NRL Premiership
Monday 21st April
Venue: Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith
Refs: Gavin Morris & Gavin Reynolds
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.Sam MCKENDRY, 9.Kevin KINGSTON (C), 10.Brent KITE, 11.Sika MANU, 12.Elijah TAYLOR, 13.Adam DOCKER
INTERCHANGE: 14. James SEGEYARO, 15. Jeremy LATIMORE, 16. Tyrone PEACHEY, 17. Tim GRANT
TITANS: 1. David MEAD, 2. Kevin GORDON, 3. Brad TAKAIRANGI, 4. Maurice BLAIR, 5. Anthony DON, 6. Aiden SEZER, 7. Albert KELLY, 8. Luke DOUGLAS, 9. Beau FALLOON, 10. Nate MYLES, 11. Greg BIRD, 12. David TAYLOR, 13. Ashley HARRISON
INTERCHANGE: 14. Matthew WHITE, 15. Ryan JAMES, 16. Mark MINICHIELLO, 17. Paul CARTER
HISTORY: Played - 9, Panthers – 5, Titans – 4.
All eyes will be on towering centre Jamal Idris when he runs out onto Sportingbet Stadium on Monday night and gets a look at his former Titans team mates for the first time since leaving the club last year.
He’s certainly not talking tough though, acknowledging that the Gold Coast boys have had a cracking start to the season and are well deserving of their top of the ladder position, having won 5 of their 6 games so far.
"You look at their team down the list and from 1-13 they are outstanding. Especially their forward pack. It’s finally connecting and they are where they should be at the moment."
It’s a bit of a different story at the foot of the mountains after last week’s disappointing loss to South Sydney. We went back to bad habits and turned in a very lacklustre performance, failing to break through the Rabbitohs defence for the whole 80 minutes. We had a few chances to score, but couldn’t produce the goods under pressure.
That scenario will need to change if we want any hope of overcoming the Titans who have been the surprise packets of the 2014 season. No one would have ever thought they would be in the top 4, let alone sitting at the top of the table after 6 rounds.
They’re boasting a cracking second row with Greg Bird and Dave Taylor demolishing their opponents in recent weeks, while new fullback David Mead is in spectacular form and is one of the major factors in the Gold Coast’s turnaround in performance.
Penrith has been hampered by some bad weather in their last two games but that’s certainly no excuse for their missed tackles and handling mistakes that have cost them tries. Coach Ivan Cleary will be keen to get back to the side-to-side attack that’s won us games this year, but will also be utilising our big men in the centre with Brent Kite, Sam Mckendry, Tim Grant and Jeremy Latimore expected to step up.
Idris will no doubt have a chat to a few of the boys too, giving them some tips on how to handle the talented Titans pack. He will be a very handy insider to have against such an unpredictable side.
There is only one change to the Panthers team this week with Lewis Brown out injured, making way for Tyrone Peachey on the bench.
The Titans have a couple of injury concerns with winger Anthony Don recovering from finger surgery and Luke Bailey out with an ankle injury he picked up last weekend’s win over the Broncos. Ryan James will take his place on the bench.