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16 May 2018 by TSZ

2018 NRL – Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Thursday 17th May, 10:50 (UK)

Where? Panthers Stadium

What channel is it on? UK - Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers will not be televised live in the UK Australia - Nine Network, Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match? UK - N/A Australia - https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-...

Are tickets still available? http://premier.ticketek.com.au...

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

PANTHERS

Head Coach: Anthony Griffin

Starting 13: Watene-Zelezniak, Crichton, Peachey, Whare, Phillips, Maloney, Cleary, Merrin, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Harawira-Naera, Yeo, Fisher-Harris – Interchanges: Egan, Hetherington, Kikau, Tamou – Reserves: Luai, Ellis, May, Lui-Toso

Unavailable: Sam McKendry, Waqa Blake, Josh Mansour, Dylan Edwards, Moses Leota, Peter Wallace

  • Penrith produced a solid display to overcome their injury woes with an important win over Newcastle last week. The Panthers have struggled for consistency recently and will now hope to put a winning run together after beating the Knights 18-29.
  • Penrith are handed a huge boost with boom halfback Nathan Cleary returning to the fold. His return pushes Tyrone Peachey back into the centres and Isaah Yeo reverting to the back-row. Skipper Peter Wallace misses out with injury so Sione Katoa receives the #9 jersey.
  • James Maloney has missed more tackles than any other player in the NRL this season with 73. That’s 26 more than Robbie Rochow in second place and could be as a result of seeing more traffic due to Tyrone Peachey defending in the halves on the other side of the pitch. With Peachey back in the centres this week, Maloney may see his defensive workload reduced.

TIGERS

Head Coach: Ivan Cleary

Starting 13: Thompson, Nofoaluma, Marsters, Naiqama, Watene-Zelezniak, Marshall, Brooks, Packer, Taylor, Matulino, Lawrence, Rochow, Eisenhuth – Interchanges: Twal, Liddle, Chee-Kam, Sue – Reserves: Grant, McQueen, Aloiai, Gamble

Unavailable: Josh Reynolds, Mahe Fonua

  • After three consecutive losses, Wests Tigers were able to snap their losing streak with a hard-fought win over North Queensland last week. The Tigers were in front for the vast majority of the game as they held off the Cowboys by 20 points to 12.
  • Despite picking up the man-of-the-match award last week, Mahe Fonua has been dropped after he broke club rules by turning up to training an hour late on Sunday. He has been replaced by Kevin Naiqama in the centres.
  • Wests missed 48 tackles last week, taking their total for the season to 396 which is the highest in the NRL. Despite this, they have only conceded 151 points which is the third lowest total of any side.

THE PREDICTION

Penrith have handled the loss of Nathan Cleary superbly and with the Origin hopeful now returning to the fold with his side in second place, the Panthers will have their sights set on applying more pressure on St George. Wests are the visitors to Panthers Stadium this week and will arrive on the back of a good win against North Queensland last week to end their three-game losing run, setting this game up nicely. Penrith have won all four of their home games so far this season and will be confident of making that five games with Cleary back in the side and out to get one over on his father, Ivan. Cleary Snr. on the other hand will hope his intimate knowledge of his son’s game will be enough to stop the Panthers but the home side should be too strong.

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