Panthers youngsters fight for top 8 spot

PANTHERS: 1.Dallin WATENE-ZELEZNIAK 2.Joshua JAY 3.Waqa BLAKE 4.Robert JENNINGS 5.Christian CRICHTON 6.Jarrod BRACKENHOFER 7.Sam SCARLETT 8.Andy SAUNDERS 9.Kierran MOSELEY 10.Oliver CLARK 11.Chris SMITH 12.Sione KATOA 13.Brendan ATTWOOD

INTERCHANGE: 14. Dave COWHAN, 15. Jordan HALL, 16. Moses LEOTA, 17. Peter TIA TIA, 18. Josh TANGITAU

DRAGONS: 1. Matthew DUFTY 2. Sitiveni MOCEIDREKE 3. Euan AITKEN 4. Brent ANDERSON 5. Leigh HIGGINS 6. Shannon CROOK 7. Adam CLUNE 8. Vincent STOWERS 9. Hayden MCCRAE 10. Jacob HOST 11. Wes LOLO 12. Jack BIRD 13. Andrew MCCARTHY

INTERCHANGE: 14. Jay GALLAGHEr 15. Thomas FREEBAIRN 16. Jack KAVANAGH 17. George LOLO 19. Abraham ATTALAH

This week is another very important game for the 9th placed Penrith Panthers NYC team as they look to force their way into the top 8 with 5 games remaining in the 2014 season. It definitely won’t be a simple task though as they come up against the St George Illawarra Dragons who currently sit in 3rd/ position on the ladder coming into round 22.

The Panthers are coming off a strong attacking performance against the Bulldogs which saw them score 54 points following a good team effort and impressive performances by players like Chris Smith and Jarrod Brackenhofer. The boys will need to ensure their defence is in better order though as they also conceded 34 points.

The Dragons are also looking to put together back to back strong games after they defeated the Sydney Roosters last week with a penalty goal in the dying minutes of the match to get them home 22-20.

The last time these two teams played was back in round 14 at Sportingbet Stadium where the Panthers were victorious 26-6 in front of their home crowd.

The Penrith team will be further boosted by the naming of Waqa Blake who has been a strong performer in the NSW Cup side for the majority of the year. His inclusion will add further attacking prowess and experience to the side. Youngster Peter Tia Tia also returns to the bench following his NSW Cup debut last week where he handled himself well against seasoned opposition.

For St George Illawarra, they will again be looking for halfback Adam Clune to steer them around the park and his kicking game will put the Panthers fullback and wingers under immense pressure. The Panthers will also need to contain the Dragons two NSW under 20s representatives in Jack Bird and Euan Aitken who will look to cause trouble for the Panther’s defence.