Hostplus Match Preview: Round 14
The Panthers take on the Raiders this Saturday at their home away from home in Bathurst seeking revenge for their season-ending loss in last year’s Semi Final in the Nations’ capital. Both sides enter this weekend sitting on twelve competition points and knocking on the door of the top eight.
Anthony Griffin has named an unchanged line-up to the one that thumped the Bulldogs 38-0 at ANZ Stadium last Sunday, meaning Matt Moylan retains his spot in the halves alongside Nathan Cleary and Dylan Edwards continues at fullback after his flawless display.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has been forced in to two changes following injuries to Shannon Boyd (knee) and Dunamis Lui (knee) sustained in their one point loss to Manly. Sia Soliola moves in to the front row with Luke Bateman returning to the side at lock after recovering from a hand injury. Royce Hunt is named to make his debut from the bench.
Three successive wins have propelled the Panthers to the fringe of the top eight. After come-from-behind wins against the Warriors and Knights, the Panthers dominated from the outset against the Bulldogs with arguably their most polished performance of the season to leave them two points behind the eighth-placed Eels.
Josh Mansour made a seamless return to the side in his first outing of the season, while Matt Moylan flourished in his new halves role. Trent Merrin continued his recent form with a dominant 200 metre return and Mitch Rein marked his first NRL appearance for the Panthers with a two-try haul to go with his 35 tackles.