Round 8, 2014 NRL Premiership
Saturday 26th April
Venue: Remondis Stadium, Cronulla
Refs: Matt Cecchin & Adam Devcich
PANTHERS: 1.Matt MOYLAN, 2.Dave SIMMONS, 3.Dean WHARE, 4.Jamal IDRIS, 5.Josh MANSOUR, 6.Jamie SOWARD, 7.Peter WALLACE (C), 8.Tim GRANT, 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. Nigel PLUM, 18. Matt ROBINSON
SHARKS: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Blake Ayshford, 4. Ricky Leutele, 5. Jonathan Wright, 6. Todd Carney, 7. Jeff Robson, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. John Morris, 10. Bryce Gibbs, 11. Chris Heighington, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen (C)
INTERCHANGE: 14. Isaac De Gois, 15. Tinirau Arona, 16. Sam Tagataese, 17. Siosaia Vave
20. Beau Ryan
Saturday’s clash at Remondis Stadium will be one of desperation for both of these teams. The Panthers will be looking for their first back to back win of the year to break their win-loss trend over the first 7 rounds, while the Sharks are languishing at the bottom of the table with just one win this season, and need all the points they can get.
Penrith had a nail-biting win over former ladder leaders Gold Coast on Monday night, with the match going down to the wire and the Titans testing every facet of our game plan. It was one of the best defensive performances we’ve turned in all year, inspired by standout games from Jamal Idris, Peter Wallace and Jamie Soward.
The Sharks weren’t so lucky in their bout against the Roosters, and they went down to the reigning premiers 24-18 in front of a home crowd. That was their 6th loss of the season and despite showcasing some of their best attacking skills, their defence let them down. In saying that, they held their own for the full 80 minutes and had their opponents’ level at 18-18 late in the second half, so it certainly won’t be a walk in the park for the Panthers this weekend.
The good news is Penrith will have a near full strength side on the field, with no extra injuries picked up on Monday. Sam Mckendry and Lewis Brown are still out, but we have plenty of depth in our ranks to fill those holes. Soward and Wallace have been on fire over the last couple of weeks and they should be at their playmaking best again, while Kev Kingston, Jeremy Latimore and Tyrone Peachey are really looking forward to returning to their old stomping ground.
Cronulla will have Captain Paul Gallen back in charge after he made a surprise return last weekend, while Beau Ryan has been named on the bench and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action if he’s included in the final 17. The return of Isaac De Gois is the only other change for the Sharks; he’s back after recovering from a knee injury.
Sosaia Feki and Jeff Robson will also be on the Panthers’ radar this week after they were devastating against the Roosters. Feki ran rings around them on the wing and he’s unstoppable if given enough room, while Robson was killer in defence and shut his opponents down every time he got the chance.
If Penrith can play the same defensive game they did against the Titans, and if Soward and Wallace can take control of the match early to guide our boys around the park, we’ll have a very good chance of bringing the two points back to western Sydney.