Hostplus Match Preview: Round 13
A new-look Panthers side return to action after the bye to take on the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. The Panthers will be looking for a hat-trick of wins at the expense of a top-eight rival with several players in doubt through injury and representative duties.
Anthony Griffin was dealt a major blow following their last-start win over the Knights with Bryce Cartwright (knee) and Peter Wallace (groin) facing extended periods on the sideline. Their absence has paved the way for Mitch Rein to make his Panthers NRL debut at hooker, while young gun Dylan Edwards returns to the top grade at fullback.
Captain Matt Moylan moves in to the halves alongside Nathan Cleary and Josh Mansour is named to make his long awaited return from injury. The New South Wales Origin and Australian representative winger is available after recovering from a ruptured ACL sustained on international duty at the end of last year.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler faces a similar selection headache with skipper James Graham under an injury cloud after being forced from the field with a neck injury early in their loss to the Sharks last Saturday. New South Wales Origin trio Josh Jackson, David Klemmer and Brett Morris have all been named to back up following Wednesday night’s clash.
The Panthers have scored back-to-back wins to drag themselves into finals contention, having overturned halftime deficits to beat the Warriors and Knights. The Panthers came from 22-points down to snatch victory against the Warriors in Round 9, then repeated the dose in Newcastle, running out 30-20 winners after trailing by 14 at the break.