PANTHERS: 1. Matt MOYLAN, 2. Josh MANSOUR, 3. Dean WHARE, 4. Jamal IDRIS, 5. David SIMMONS, 6. Will SMITH, 7. Jamie SOWARD, 8. Nigel PLUM, 9. James SEGEYARO, 10. Sam MCKENDRY, 11. Sika MANU,12. Isaah YEO, 13. Adam DOCKER
INTERCHANGE: 14. Lewis BROWN 15. Jeremy LATIMORE, 16. Matt ROBINSON, 17. TIM GRANT
COWBOYS: 1. Michael MORGAN 2. Tautau MOGA 3. Matthew WRIGHT 4. Kane LINNETT 5. Antonio WINTERSTEIN 6. Robert LUI 7. Johnathan THURSTON (c) 8. Matt SCOTT (c) 9. Rory KOSTJASYN 10. Ashton SIMS 11. Tariq SIMS 12. Jason TAUMALOLO 13. Glenn HALL
INTERCHANGE: 14. Ray THOMPSON 15. Scott BOLTON 16. Gavin COOPER 17. Sam HOARE
This week is Close the Gap round in the NRL and the Penrith Panthers get to celebrate the occasion at home when they take on the North Queensland Cowboys at Sportingbet Stadium on Monday Night.
The Panthers will be looking to make it three straight wins this week after consecutive victories over the Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons. They will need to be at their best to do so though as the Cowboys are one of the form teams of the competition, having won four games in a row. Both teams have the added bonus this week of naming unchanged teams to the ones that took the field last week. However, the Cowboys will be without Tariq Sims who has been suspended for the clash, and they are yet to name a replacement.
This week’s match will be the first time these two teams get the chance to face off this year and the Panthers will be looking to muscle up in the middle as they have done so often this year, against the big, aggressive forward pack of the Cowboys. The mixture of aggressive players like Taumalolo and Ashton Sims, with experienced heads such as Matt Scott and Glenn Hall will ensure the forward battle will be one to look forward to.
For the Panthers, this match provides them with the chance to maintain their spot inside the all-important top 4 with only four weeks of football remaining. They will be looking forward to getting back to Sportingbet Stadium, a ground they have only played at once in the last 7 weeks. This will be sure to boost them as they look to impress their home supporters.
As for the Cowboys, they will be looking to continue where they left off last week with a convincing 64-6 victory over the Wests Tigers. Last week’s win catapulted them into 5th position on the ladder and dramatically improved their For and Against which will be crucial in this year’s tight competition.
Key Match Ups
Jamie Soward v Johnathan Thurston: These two experienced halves have clashed many times before and will again be looking to control the game and direct their teams around the paddock. Both players are in great form and will be looking forward to this challenge.
Sika Manu v Jason Taumalolo: These two players possess similar physical attributes in size, speed and footwork and their battle promises to be very physical and exciting for the fans of both teams.