Penrith Panthers NYC v St George-Illawarra Dragons NYC
Kick-off: 5.30pm Thursday
The Penrith Panthers NYC side will be looking to extend their winning streak to eight when they face St George-Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium on Thursday.
Coach Cameron Ciraldo has made a host of changes to the side that beat New Zealand Warriors 36-28 at Pepper Stadium last Saturday.
Maliko Filino is back in the NYC team at centre following his superb hat-trick in NSW Cup last weekend, Jack Nelson returns on the bench while Sam Elwin comes in at five-eighth for Jerome Luai. The versatile Tyrone May replaces hooker Soni Luke, who suffered a knee injury in the last-start win.
Ciraldo will be delighted to have Filino back in the side following his impressive run of form since moving to NSW Cup. The centre has scored ten tries for the NYC side this season, on top of his NSW Cup tally of six, and will line up alongside another proven try-scorer in Fuimanu Enese. The speedy winger has claimed twelve tries this season and the duo form a devastating partnership on the flank for Penrith.
In what promises to be a high-scoring affair, the Panthers will have to look to contain St George-Illawarra’s own point scoring pair of Thomas Carr and Matt Dufty. Carr has crossed the line an impressive thirteen times in just ten starts as well as averaging 120 metres per game, with Dufty scoring eleven tries in eighteen games and running 130 metres per game.
Despite the strong form of Carr and Dufty, the Dragons have been disappointing this season, sitting 15th on the ladder and winning just four of their past eleven matches.
Penrith are cruising through the competition and made it seven straight wins at Pepper Stadium last Saturday. A win on Thursday will extend their lead at the top of the table to three points over the Cowboys with just two rounds remaining.