Cessnock Sports Ground
Saturday, May 10
Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
PANTHERS - 1. Kieran MOSS 2. Eto NABULI 3. Isaah YEO 4. Will SMITH 5. Kevin NAIQAMA 6. Luke CAPEWELL 7. Isaac JOHN 8. Sam ANDERSON 9. Kierran MOSELEY 10. Reagan CAMPBELL-GILLARD 11. Ben MURDOCH-MASILA 12. Anthony CHERRINGTON 13. Ryan SIMPKINS
INTERCHANGE: 14. Nathan SMITH 15. Daniel FOSTER 16. Bryce CARTWRIGHT 17. Vaipuna TIA KILIFI 18. Leilani LATU 19. Liam AYOUB 20. Tom EISENHUTH
COACH: GARTH BRENNAN
KNIGHTS – 1. Matt MINTO 2. Josh MANTELLATO 3. Brayden WILIAME 4. Pat MATA’UTIA 5. Chanel MATA’UTIA 6. Tyler RANDELL 7. Michael DOBSON 8. Michael STEELE 9. Travis WADDELL 10. Pat VAIVAI 25. James ELIAS 12. Dylan HARTIN 13. Brenton HORWOOD
INTERCHANGE: 14. Chad REDMAN 15. Hayden SMITH 16. Tama KOOPU 17. Tom SHEARMAN 30. Toka LIKILIKI
COACH: RICK STONE
Two of the toughest competitors in the 2014 NSW Cup will go head to head at Cessnock on Saturday evening in what promises to be a fierce clash between two very evenly matched teams.
The Panthers are sitting in fourth spot on the ladder with the Knights nipping at their heels in fifth. These two teams met in round 1 this year with the Knights defeating the home side 24-14, but Penrith have really picked up their game since then and are progressing nicely.
We had a convincing 36-8 win over the Warriors at home last weekend while Newcastle went down to Wenty 50-32, but not before putting on a very gutsy show.
Panthers coach Garth Brennan will field a full strength side despite having to make a couple of changes. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is out with a foot injury, but he’ll be replaced by Kieran Moss who has recovered from a knee problem and will start at fullback. Luke Capewell and Isaac John will pair up in the halves, with Will Smith moving to the centres, and new recruit Ben Murdoch-Masila will start in the second row.
The Knights have a couple of changes in their side too with Toka Likiliki returning to start from the bench after overcoming a hamstring injury, Matt Minto will play fullback and there’s been a bit of a shuffle in their second row.
Aside from a poor performance in their match against the Sharks two weeks ago, the Panthers have been playing some very good football, creating plenty of opportunities from the centre of the field and showcasing brute strength in defence to keep their opponents from scoring. Newcastle has been equally as strong in attack but perhaps a little weaker along their backline, but they will be far from easy to knock over on Saturday.