PANTHERS: 1.Kieran MOSS 2.Eto NABULI 3.Waqa BLAKE 4. Kevin NAIQAMA 5.Wes NAIQAMA 6.Luke CAPEWELL 7.Tom HUMBLE 8.Leilani LATU 9.Daniel FOSTER 10.Reagan CAMPBELL-GILLARD 11.Vaipuna TIA KILIFI 12.Nathan SMITH 13.Ryan SIMPKINS
INTERCHANGE: 14. Liam AYOUB, 15. Pat HOLLIS, 16. Mitch CLARK, 17. Chris SMITH
CUTTERS: 1. Adam QUINLAN 2. Yaw KITI GLYMIN 3. Junior TIA-KILIFI 4. Geoff DANIELA 5. Tyron CRANSTON 6. Kyle EATHER 7. Drew HUTCHISON 8. Jack STOCKWELL 9. Joel JOHNSON 10. Rory O'BRIEN 11. Nathan GREEN 12. Chris LEWIS 13. Shannon WAKEMAN
INTERCHANGE: 14. Sam DUGGAN 15. Josh AILAOMAI 16. Willie MATAKA 17. Jeff MOATE
After finishing the regular season on top of the ladder, ten points clear of their nearest rivals, the Panthers will take on the fourth placed Illawarra Cutters in week 1 of the semi finals. This match will take place on Sunday at Leichhardt as part of a NSWRL triple header.
In their two meetings this year, the Panthers have had to fight hard to come away with two narrow victories over the Cutters and this week will be no different, with the winner assured a spot in the preliminary finals in two weeks.
The Panthers have managed to carry some good momentum into the finals with an impressive 44-12 win over the Wentworthville Magpies last week. The Cutters had the bye last weekend so will be well rested and refreshed going into this one.
There are a couple of changes for the Panthers who will welcome Waqa Blake back into the side after some good performances in the NYC of late. Chris Smith has also been rewarded for his work in the NYC side and will return to the NSW Cup after getting a taste earlier in the season.
The strengths for the Illawarra side are across the park but it is their forward pack that they rely on to get them going in games. With strong starting front rowers Jack Stockwell and Rory O’Brien, they lose nothing with their interchange players like Josh Ailaomai and Willie Mataka who add another power dimension to the Cutters’ games.
Another interesting battle in this match will be of the brotherly kind with Panthers second rower Vaipuna Tia Kilifi taking on his older sibling Junior, who will line up in the centres.
With a lot at stake in this game, all fans and members are encouraged to make the trek to Leichhardt oval to begin what will hopefully be a great day of footy.