Penrith Panthers NYC vs Wests Tigers NYC
Kick-off 1.45pm Sunday
Penrith Panthers head into Sunday's clash against Wests Tigers enjoying a tidal wave of momentum, having last week extended their winning streak to nine matches.
Penrith is three points clear of the Cowboys on top of the table after surviving a dramatic late fight back to beat the Bulldogs 30-26.
With signs of complacency creeping into their game, coach Cameron Ciraldo will use the close call at ANZ Stadium to motivate his side as they continue their charge towards the minor premiership.
The Tigers are currently in seventh place and under threat of tumbling out of finals contention after being handed a 44-22 drubbing by the Sea Eagles last weekend.
Despite the contrasting fortunes of the two sides this season, the high-flying Panthers will need to be wary. The Tigers have enjoyed the upper-hand in their recent encounters, claiming four wins in their last seven meetings.
Surprisingly, the home team has also scored more points than the Panthers this season so far, though Penrith does have a game-in-hand to bridge that gap.
Perhaps sensing the need to re-focus his young troops after last week’s scare, Ciraldo has made some changes in key positions for the Leichhardt Oval showdown.
St Dominic’s College graduate Nathan Cleary has been named at five-eighth after enjoying a successful breakout season in the SG Ball competition. Dylan Edwards, who wore the number six against the Bulldogs, has been named in the centres.
Paea Pua shifts from the back row to the front row, Kaide Ellis and Oliver Clark drop back to the bench, and Corey Waddell has been elevated to a starting role alongside Shane Kiel in the back row.
1. Brent NADEN (c) 2. Fuimanu ENESE 3. Jack NELSON 4. Dylan EDWARDS 5. Braidon BURNS 6. Nathan CLEARY 7. Sam ELWIN 8. Paea PUA 9. Soni LUKE 10. Moses LEOTA 11. Corey WADDELL 12. Shane KIEL 13. Tyrone MAY
14. Kaide ELLIS 15. Cowen EPERE 16. Oliver CLARK 17. Soni HALA 19. Thomson TUIGAMALA