After narrowly defeating the Broncos at home in Round 18 on a Monday night, the Panthers had to back up five days later against the Roosters, who were fresh off a bye, at Allianz Stadium.
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The preparation of the two sides showed early with the Roosters scoring early and taking an 18 – 0 lead into the break.
It was a lead the Panthers couldn’t reel in but the effort was certainly there from the Penrith side that was without regular halfback Peter Wallace and the club’s leading try-scorer and Winger Josh Mansour.
The Panthers, who take this home game to Carrington Park Bathurst, welcome Wallace back for this clash with Jamie Soward moving to five-eight. This allows Matt Moylen, who had a blinder against the Broncos at fullback, to return to that position after playing in the halves last week.
It gives the Panthers a strong looking side and having won seven of their last nine, the Panthers can bounce back with a good win here.
Before the Sharks could get warm in last week’s home clash against the Cowboys they were already 10 points behind on the scoreboard with the visitors crossing twice in the first five minutes.
Two tries to the Sharks inside the final five minutes of the first half had them within reach of the Cowboys but the halftime break only served to slow their momentum.
Upon the return, the Cowboys always looked to have the game within their keeping and three tries in a fifteen minute period put the game beyond doubt.
It was another game where the Sharks played in patches only. Against the Panthers who have been consistent this year, that won’t be good enough but hard to think that now, 20 rounds into the season, that the Sharks will be able to put a full 80 minutes together.
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HEAD TO HEAD
Penrith have only scored the one win over the Sharks in the past five encounters – a Golden Point victory, and when the two sides last met, in round 8 of this year, the Sharks registered only their second win of the season with a 24 – 20 win at Remondis.
Since then though, the Panthers have won seven of their nine matches and even the two losses, against the Roosters and Warriors – were not bad performances overall.
The Sharks have caused a few major upsets in the past month but it’s hard to tip them to register another win here against an in-from and good looking Panthers outfit.
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Dallin Watene Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, Kevin Naiqama, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Nigel Plum, James Segeyaro, Brent Kite, Bryce Cartwright, Isaah Yeo, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore, Adam Docker, Sam McKendry, Sika Manu
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Jonathan Wright, Ricky Leutele, Jacob Gagan, Fa’amanu Brown, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, Michael Lichaa, Bryce Gibbs, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Anthony Tupou. Interchange: Pat Politoni, Chris Heighington, Tinirau Arona, Sam Tagataese, Tim Robinson, Matt Prior