2018 NRL – Penrith Panthers vs St George Illawarra Dragons Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Saturday 26th May, 10:35 (UK)

Where? Panthers 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.com.au/shows/Show.aspx?sh=PAN1218

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

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

  • Penrith prevented Wests from crossing the whitewash last week as they sealed a comfortable win. After going behind to an Esan Marsters penalty in the seventh minute, the Panthers didn’t concede another point all game as they won 16-2.

  • Anthony Griffin has named an unchanged side after they saw off Wests last week with the Panthers still missing several key first-teamers to injury.

  • The Panthers have won all five of their home games this season and will be looking to keep that run going as they host the Dragons in a huge clash at the top of the NRL ladder.

DRAGONS

Head Coach: Paul McGregor

Starting 13: Dufty, Macdonald, Aitken, Lafai, Nightingale, Widdop, Hunt, Graham, McInnes, Vaughan, Frizell, Sims, De Belin – Interchanges: Latimore, Mann, Ah Mau, Lawrie – Reserves: Robson, Garrick

Unavailable: Zac Lomax

  • St George retained top spot in the NRL after they overturned a deficit late on to defeat Canberra last week. Matt Dufty’s 69th minute try followed by Gareth Widdop’s drop goal four minutes from the end sealed the win for the Dragons as they won 25-18.

  • The Dragons will field the same 17 that defeated the Raiders last week with young-gun Zac Lomax unavailable after suffering a hand injury.

  • St George have managed to control the majority of games this season through ensuring they see more of the ball than their opponents and they managed to do the same again with the weight of possession helping them get the win. They had 54% of the ball with their average for the season standing at 55%, the highest in the NRL.

THE PREDICTION

The odds at the start of the season on first-place against second-place in Round 12 of the NRL being St George playing Penrith would have been very big but that is how it has panned out with both teams earning their respective league positions so far. With just five losses between them from a combined 22 games, this should be a superb encounter at Panthers Stadium. Both of St George’s losses have come away from home this season and coupled with Penrith’s home record, it could be a tough day for the Dragons. However, St George have been able to name the same team for the majority of the season whilst Penrith have suffered plenty of changes due to injuries and that consistency for the Dragons might be enough for them to edge this.