Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders
Kick-off: 11.45am Sunday
The high-flying Penrith Panthers NYC side returns to Pepper Stadium on Sunday with plans to extend their competition lead against the Canberra Raiders.
In what has become the norm in recent weeks, coach Cameron Ciraldo has made a number of changes to the Penrith line-up. This is despite his side convincingly defeating Melbourne Storm 28-14 at AAMI Park last Friday night.
After being a late inclusion to make his NYC debut against the Storm, the pacey Jarome Luai gets a start at fullback this week.
Dylan Edwards returns to the halves alongside Nathan Cleary, while regular playmaker Sam Elwin misses out on selection.
Moses Leota has been named in the front-row, returning from a shoulder injury he sustained a fortnight ago playing for the NSW Cup side.
The powerful prop’s inclusion bolsters a Panthers pack which has seen much success overwhelming teams through the middle of the park this season.
Penrith will be hoping to enhance their chances of claiming the minor premiership in front of a passionate crowd at Pepper Stadium. The club is donating $10 from every adult ticket, and $5 from every junior ticket, towards the Nepean Family Room at Nepean Hospital. Other initiatives for the day include MG’s Members March to the stadium and Fans on the Field after full-time.
The Raiders currently sit in fourth spot on the NYC competition ladder but their position is precarious, with a loss on Sunday to put their finals hopes at some risk.
The Panthers are the sole NYC competition leaders but the Cowboys are hot on their heels, trailing by only one point.
This is the first time these two sides will do battle this year, with the Raiders winning their last encounter 34-16 back in Round 10, 2014.