2018 NRL – New Zealand Warriors vs Penrith Panthers Preview

AT A GLANCE

When?
Friday 24th August, 09:00 (UK)

Where?
Mt Smart Stadium

What channel is it on?
UK – Sky Sports Arena
Australia – Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match?
UK – Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go
Australia – https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-movies-music/sports-offer

Are tickets still available?
http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/Show.aspx?sh=WARR1018

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

WARRIORS

Head Coach: Stephen Kearney

Starting 13: Tuivasa-Sheck, Fusitu’a, Hiku, Kata, Maumalo, Lino, Johnson, Gavet, Luke, Paasi, Papali’i, Blair, Mannering – Interchanges: Tevaga, Harris, Afoa, Pulu – Reserves: Gelling, Satae

Unavailable: Nathaniel Roache, Sam Lisone, Blake Green, Gerard Beale

  • New Zealand Warriors lost a thrilling contest against Canterbury last week. Having drawn level in the 76th minute, the Warriors were unable to see the game out as Lachlan Lewis’ drop goal two minutes from time sealed the Warriors’ fate as they went down 27-26.

  • Tohu Harris makes a welcome return after almost two months out. Mason Lino is also back in the side with Blake Green out with a calf injury. Gerard Beale’s season could be over after he suffered a hamstring injury so Peta Hiku starts in the centres.

  • A point last week would have secured the Warriors’ spot in the play-offs but the late defeat means they are still not mathematically secure and will be hoping to seal their place with a win that would see them draw level on points with their opponents.

PANTHERS

Head Coach: Cameron Ciraldo

Starting 13: Watene-Zelezniak, Mansour, Blake, Whare, Crichton, Peachey, Cleary, Merrin, Egan, Campbell-Gillard, Kikau, Yeo, Fisher-Harris – Interchanges: May, Leota, Harawira-Naera, Tamou – Reserves: Katoa, Ellis

Unavailable: Sam McKendry, Dylan Edwards, Jarome Luai, James Maloney, Jack Hetherington

  • Penrith were disappointing last week as they fell to a surprise defeat at home to Newcastle. The Knights outplayed the Panthers and got their just rewards as the Panthers were comfortably dispatched 12-20.

  • Last week’s loss has seen a few changes, notably Tyrone Peachey reverting to five-eighth and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak moving to fullback. That means Tyrone May drops to the bench where he will spell Wayde Egan at hooker with Sione Katoa dropped.

  • The Panthers missed a great chance to cement their place in the top 4 last week as a win would have seen them draw level with the three sides at the top of the ladder.

THE PREDICTION

Both of these teams need a win this week for different play-off related reasons. The Warriors still aren’t mathematically secure in the play-offs with one more win or even a draw securing their spot. The Panthers on the other hand are seeking a top 4 spot and will realistically need two wins from their last two games to give themselves a chance. Both suffered disappointing defeats last week and will be keen to bounce back but are missing some key players, namely the starting five-eighth pair of Blake Green and James Maloney. The Warriors are arguably better equipped to deal with that loss and on home soil, they can secure their spot in the finals.