PANTHERS vs BRONCOS
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Friday 8th May
The Panthers travel up to Suncorp Stadium on the back of the representative round.
Ivan Cleary has named a strong side to take on Brisbane on Friday, welcoming back several youngsters to the team sheet from rep duty. Matt Moylan, Waqa Blake, Tyrone Peachey, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Bryce Cartwright all featured in the City Origin squad and return to the Penrith side wiser and more determined to stop the Broncos momentum at the top of the table.
The Broncos welcome back Darius Boyd from a lengthy stint on the sidelines which adds more firepower to the contest, but an intriguing contest out wide will be that of Waqa Blake and Justin Hodges. Hodges has done everything at every level of the game. He’s got a highlights reel young footballers dream of, but Blake is a powerhouse with speed to burn and a hunger to bulldoze past Hodges when he gets the ball in his hands.
We currently sit in the top 8 and have many positives to build on as the season heats up. The boys overcame the Sharks in the last round and have to step up the efforts if they are to defeat the Broncos juggernaut. Brisbane has proven that they know how to grind out results and Penrith needs to produce a consistent defensive effort to match it with the benchmark of the competition.
Our captain on the weekend, Lewis Brown leads the Panthers for the second consecutive game following the victory over the Sharks. Brown will have fellow Kiwi Alex Glenn to deal with who returns to first grade from an eye socket injury. Glenn is not about to get any sympathy from Brown who will be looking to lead from the front and ensure the Panthers forwards get the upper hand in the middle of the field.
PENRITH PANTHERS | Matt Moylan, George Jennings, Waqa Blake, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, David Simmons, Will Smith, Isaac John, Nigel Plum, Api Koroisau, Sam Mckendry, Lewis Brown, Isaah Yeo, Sika Manu, Tyrone Peachey, Jeremy Latimore, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Bryce Cartwright.
PANTHERS vs WENTWORTHVILLE
Sunday 10th May
Kick-off: 3pm – Ringrose Park
Penrith’s NSW Cup boys are ready to stay in the winner’s circle for another week when they face Wentworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park on Sunday. In testing conditions in the last round, the Panthers matched it with Mounties to narrow the gap at the top of the table. Coach Garth Brennan will expect the same intensity once again on the weekend.
Brennan has been forced to name a few players in unfamiliar positions with a few of his starting regulars receiving call ups to first grade. Chris Smith has been named in the centres with Paul Simona, Tupou Sopoaga will partner Sam Scarlett in the halves, Tom Eisenhuth switches to fullback, Nu’u Akeripa moves to the wing, Josh Tangitau comes into the starting line-up in the number 9 jersey, Pat Hollis starts in the second row.
Brennan would have been extremely proud of his chargers in the last round at St Marys. It was a game that saw everything. Sunshine, storms, hail and at one point the officials called for time to be stopped. None of that deterred Penrith from grabbing the two points. If anything, it inspired them to stake their claim as a side to watch out for this season.
With Will Smith in first grade Tupou Sopoaga has his chance to show his coach that he can step up and steer his team around the park in the number 6 jersey. His presence in attacking plays this year has been outstanding in the forwards and he will need to bring the same flare and composure to the halves this week.
Away from home this weekend, our new look side has to be switched on from the starting whistle. The Magpies may not have enjoyed the best start to the year, but in recent weeks the performances have given Wentworthville plenty of positives to build on. Combinations are starting to form, which will give Coach Brennan and the Panthers a number of players to watch on Sunday.
A win away from Pepper Stadium will keep us in the top two of the competition table.
PENRITH PANTHERS | Tom Eisenhuth, Eddie Aiona, Chris Smith, Paul Simona, Nu’u Akeripa, Tupou Sopoaga, Sam Scarlett, Sam Anderson, Josh Tangitau, Leilani Latu, Brendan Attwood, Pat Hollis, Andy Saunders, Rodney Coates, Sam Hollis, Wellington Albert, Matt Eisenhuth, Antonio Pelasasa.
PANTHERS vs BRONCOS
Friday 8th May
The Panthers under 20’s young guns face the Brisbane Broncos on Friday in a top of the table clash at Suncorp Stadium. Both teams are in top form and our boys are ready to snatch the 2 points away from home.
Cameron Ciraldo has made a few changes to his side this week with Junior Internationals returning to his starting line-up. Robert Jennings starts in the centres after playing in the Junior Kangaroos side. Sione Katoa & James Fisher-Harris will return from representing the Junior Kiwis, Katoa will captain the side in the number 9 jersey with Tyrone May shifting to the back of the scrum.
Robert Jennings has impressed in every match he has played at the club this season and is a welcome addition to Ciraldo’s backline. His experience in first grade could prove to be a valuable asset for the Panthers. His new teammates have been doing the simple things right on the field over the past few weeks and that will take the pressure off Jennings. However, there is no tougher test than Brisbane away from home.
Penrith’s comprehensive win over the Sharks would have pleased Ciraldo in our last start. For the full 80 minutes our youngsters maintained the same intensity in attack and defence. We didn’t give Cronulla an inch of space and that same attitude will be crucial on Friday. Brisbane has a reputation for punishing opposition defences and our backs are going to have to be on their toes in every set.
PENRITH PANTHERS | Brent Naden, Manu Enise, Robert Jennings, Maliko Filino, Christian Crichton, Dylan Edwards, Soni Luke, Stanton Albert, Sione Katoa, Moses Leota, James Fisher-Harris, Corey Harawira, Tyrone May, Paea Pua, Soni Hala, Oliver Clark, Kade Ellis, Shane Kiel.