Round 10 preview. Knights vs Panthers

Newcastle Knights vs Penrith Panthers 
Friday 11th of May
Hunter Stadium


The 6 o'clock Friday game has the Newcastle Knights hosting the Penrith Panthers. Both sides go into today's match after a loss last weekend.

The Knights have shown they still have plenty of points in them, but last week it was the defence that let them down. A repeat of last weeks defensive effort could see a Panthers punishment.

The Panthers were blown out of the blocks last week, something the Knights can quite easily do. A strong defensive mindset from a few Origin possibles will be needed if they want to leave Newcastle with the 2 points.

Team lists
Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata'utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Brock Lamb, 8 Herman Ese'ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Josh King, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Aidan Guerra (c)

Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Luke Yates, 17 Daniel Saifiti

Reserves: 18 Jamie Buhrer (c), 19 Jacob Saifiti, 20 Jack Cogger, 21 Cory Denniss

Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Isaah Yeo, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Corey Harawira-Naera, 13 James Fisher-Harris

Interchange: 14 Sione Katoa, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 James Tamou, 17 Jarome Luai

Reserves: 18 Wayde Egan, 19 Nick Lui-Toso, 20 Thomas Eisenhuth, 21 Tyrone May

Key match ups

Ponga vs Watene-Zeleniak 

Ponga has taken his starting position at the Knights with both hands, leading the Dally M awards after 9 rounds. But how long can someone so young keep it up for in his first full season in the NRL.

Watene-Zeleniak had his first full game at fullback last week after the unfortunate season ending injury to Edwards and with the inexperienced wingers on both the Panthers edges, a lot of extra pressure has been added. Will he produce his best as the season goes on, or will he fail...

Lamb vs Maloney

Lamb has been brought back into first grade after just one week of the Cogger experiment. With Pearce out injured he now has the chance to take control of the side, which is exactly what Pearce had done. The Knights will find it tough to make the 8 without Pearce for most of the season and their finals hopes could very well come down to the next month or so with Lamb at halfback, will the Knights struggle with Lamb controlling the side or will it have an instant success,  similar to his opposing number.

Maloney is arguably the form halfback in the competition, a shoe in for an origin Jersey, but this will be his last week in complete control as Cleary is set to return next week. You wouldn't know the Panthers have an injury crisis with the way Maloney has directed play these last 6 weeks and I'm expecting the same tonight.

Griffin vs Wallace

As stated above both sides don't have an issue with scoring points, when they've lost this season it's been on the back of poor defensive errors. Griffin and Wallace have an important job at hand in this one.

Both players need to lead their side in defense tonight. Limit the miss tackles, stop the offloads and second phase play. With both sides loving to throw the ball around, the match very well could come down to one of these two and how well they control the opposition.


I'm expecting the Panthers to bounce back after last weeks shock loss. But infront of an expected 20000 novocastrian it wont be an easy one.
Panthers 1-6



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