Penrith Panthers NSW Cup v Newcastle Knights NSW Cup
Kick-off 4pm Sunday
Penrith Panthers meet Newcastle Knights at Kogarah Oval on Sunday in a sudden death NSW Cup clash and a replay of last season’s Grand Final.
The Panthers will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 28-10 loss to Wyong Roos in last weekend’s Qualifying Final while Newcastle are coming off an impressive 45-6 win over Manly in their Elimination Final.
Panthers coach Garth Brennan is able to recall some of his troops recently selected for NRL duty. Leilani Latu, Sione Katoa and Chris Smith all return to the starting side after successful stints in first grade, while Adrian Davis replaces Sam Scarlett (ankle injury) at halfback. Five-eighth Daniel Foster is free to take the field after having his high tackle charge downgraded at the judiciary on Wednesday night.
The returning trio will provided a much-needed boost to the side after they struggled to contain a strong Wyong outfit. Despite taking a six-point lead early, Penrith found themselves behind by the same margin at half time, and couldn’t recover as Wyong managed to keep the hosts at bay for large periods of the game.
Latu and Smith will line up alongside Ben Murdoch-Masila to form a hard-hitting backrow full of size and strength, with each of them now having NRL experience under their belt. They are joined by front-rowers Rodney Coates and skipper Sam Anderson, to make up a damaging forward pack.
The Knights boast a similarly impressive forward pack, with NRL veteran Clint Newton starting at lock, young gun Jacob Saifiti starting in the second row and the imposing figure of Sam Mataora at prop, having featured for Newcastle’s NRL side throughout the season.
Furthermore, fullback Jake Mamo, centre Chanel Mata'uita, five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave and hooker Danny Levi all have represented Newcastle's NRL side, making them a formidable opponent with a strong spine.