The Penrith Panthers NSW Cup side returns to Pepper Stadium on Saturday to face the Newcastle Knights.
After surviving consecutive games on the road, Garth Brennan’s men are back in Penrith and seeking redemption for a tight two-point loss to the Knights earlier in the season.
A few changes have been made to the Panthers side this week. Will Smith has been handed the fullback jersey, Chris Smith returns to the centres, Sam Scarlett will play hooker while Stanton Albert starts at prop. Brendan Attwood takes his place in the second row, Leilani Latu locks the scrum and Andy Saunders is on the interchange bench.
Taking on Wentworthville in Port Macquarie last round, the Panthers produced their best defensive effort of the season and came away with a 16-0 victory. According to Brennan the result was reward for extra hours spent on the training ground working on defensive structures.
Unfortunately the victory came at a cost though, with fullback Kieran Moss succumbing to a serious ankle injury.
Penrith remain atop the NSW Cup table but have no room for complacency with Mounties just two points in arrears. The Panthers will need their defensive line to again be at its resilient best against fourth-placed Newcastle.
The Knights have proven this season that they know how to score big points against the top sides. Their 34-22 victory over Mounties last week was clear proof of their attacking capabilities.
PENRITH PANTHERS | Will Smith, Eddie Aiono, Chris Smith, Geoff Daniela, Maliko Filino, Isaac John, Adrian Davis, Rodney Coates, Sam Scarlett, Stanton Albert, Brendan Attwood, Tupou Sopoaga, Leilani Latu, Andy Saunders, Nathan Smith, Wellington Albert, Matt Eisenhuth