Panthers keen to get back on track
PANTHERS: 1.Kieran MOSS, 2.Eto NABULI, 3.Waqa BLAKE, 4. Wes NAIQAMA, 5.David SIMMONS, 6.Will SMITH, 7.Tom HUMBLE, 8.Sam ANDERSON, 9.Kevin KINGSTON, 10.Tim GRANT, 11.Ben MURDOCH-MASILA, 12.Matt ROBINSON, 13.Ryan SIMPKINS
INTERCHANGE: 14. Reagan CAMPBELL-GILLARD, 15. Luke CAPEWELL, 16. Vaipuna TIA KILIFI, 17. Nathan SMITH, 22. Anthony CHERRINGTON
SHARKS: 1. Nathan GARDNER, 2. Travis ROBINSON, 3. Blake AYSHFORD, 4. Kurt MANN, 5. Justin O’NEILL, 6. Ben HAMPTON, 7. Daniel HOLDSWORTH, 8. Mark MEXICO, 9. Scott SORENSEN, 10. George ROSE, 11. Junior ROQICA, 12. Sione MASIMA, 13. Michael MORRIS
INTERCHANGE: 14. Penani MANUMALEALII, 15. Jake LAWRENCE, 16. Josh PORTLOCK, 17. Ben CHAHOUD
The Panthers NSW Cup winning streak came to an abrupt halt last week when they suffered a loss at the hands of Newtown, so they will be looking to bounce back with a decent performance against the seventh placed Cronulla Sharks this week at Carrington Park in Bathurst.
Penrith had a steady lead for the majority of the game last week but struggled at the back end of the second half and ended up going down 31-30. However, they still sit atop of the ladder, two wins clear of Wentworthville, thanks in some part the Sharks who defeated the Magpies 40-36.
This Saturday’s game will be a grand final rematch from last year in which the Sharks came away with the win and the premiership. The Panthers will again be out to avenge both that loss and the 26-20 loss that they were dealt by the side earlier in the year.
It won’t be an easy task though, as Cronulla are coming off three wins in a row and continue their affiliation with the Melbourne Storm, which means they have players like George Rose, Travis Robinson and Young Tonumaipea at their disposal. This also means they have a huge amount of first grade experience within their ranks, which saw 11 out of last weeks starting 13 having played NRL previously.
However, Penrith have shown just how exciting they can be too with a mix of experienced players like Tim Grant, Kevijn Kingston and Ryan Simpkins lining up alongside the youth of Kieren Moss, Waqa blake and Kierran Moseley.
Exciting new this week too is the return of Ben Murdoch-Masila from injury, and the inclusion of first grade winger Dave Simmons who will have a his first run for several weeks following a knee injury
In order to bounce back with a win this week, the Panthers will need to contain Nathan Gardner who has been in good form for the Sharks with his speed and agile nature posing a real problem for some teams. George Rose will also be out for a big game as he was born and bred in Bathurst and is sure to have plenty of local support.