Round 11 Preview: Panthers vs Tigers


Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers
Panthers Stadium
Thursday, May 17, 2018
7:55pm AEST, 9:55pm NZ

Team Lists
Panthers: 
1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
2 Christian Crichton
3 Tyrone Peachey
4 Dean Whare
5 Tyrone Phillips
6 James Maloney (c)
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Trent Merrin
9 Sione Katoa
10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
11 Corey Harawira-Naera
12 Isaah Yeo
13 James Fisher-Harris
Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Jack Hetherington, 16 Viliame Kikau, 17 James Tamou
Reserves: 18 Jarome Luai, 19 Kaide Ellis 
Tigers: 
1 Corey Thompson
2 David Nofoaluma
3 Esan Marsters
4 Kevin Naiqama

5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
6 Benji Marshall
7 Luke Brooks
8 Russell Packer (c) 

9 Elijah Taylor
10 Ben Matulino
11 Chris Lawrence
12 Robbie Rochow
13 Matthew Eisenhuth
Interchange: 14 Alex Twal, 15 Jacob Liddle, 16 Michael Chee Kam, 17 Sauaso Sue
Reserves: 18 Tim Grant, 19 Chris McQueen

Match Preview:
We have the battle of the west, the battle of the big cats, brother vs brother, Father vs son, however you wanna put it, it’s going to be an absolute cracker!

First up, we have the mountain men, the Penrith Panthers. The Panthers are sitting nicely up in second place on the NRL ladder, and despite losing their star half Nathan Cleary for a bit over a month, it didn’t stop the roll on. The Panthers have been in stellar form and are looking to put real pressure on the Dragons in first place. They are boosted by the return of Nathan Cleary who will come back just in time to face the team coached by his father. Despite the great start, the Panthers have been lucky with their draw, facing only two teams this year who are currently in the top 8. One of which had a horrid start and the Panthers got to face them in Round 2, the other of which was 8th place, and the Panthers lost that! The Panthers will be looking to show us all that they can compete with the best, as they are set to face their toughest opponent in 2018 so far!

The mighty Tigers! What an odd year it’s been to support them! Started the season so well, can knock off the top tier teams, but just can’t beat the lower teams. Three straight losses to two lowly teams and a flogging by the highly ranked Warriors. The Tigers were hailed as the real deal this year, but that three game slip up has everyone doubting them again. It’s obvious that the Tigers are a top 8 team, but now people doubt wether they will be their for numbers, let alone make it at all. All of a sudden, there’s doubt. The return of captain Russell Packer was an obvious inclusion last week as they knocked off the lowly ranked Cowboys, but Ivan Clearly’s men need to be leaving Penrith tonight with a win if they are to be classed as a premiership threat again. A loss could see them drop from the top 8, a win however? Well a win and they will be hitting a much lighter five game run into their round 17 bye with a whole heap of confidence.

Key Match Up

My key match up for this game is none other than a battle of the young gun halves. By far the two best young halves in the game go head to head here, and we all think it’s got more in it than just a game. Luke Brooks will be out to show the club he loves that they don’t need young Cleary. He’s not only fighting off a young man who may just replace him soon, but a young man fighting for an Origin jersey! Cleary doesn’t have it easy but. He’s taking on Luke Brooks who’s in career best form, and also in the Origin discussion. The kid hailed as the next Andrew Johns is lighting it up, and won’t be easy to best! This is going to be one hell of a match up!

Prediction

This is incredibly hard to tip. We know it’s going to be a close hard fought battle either way, but who wins? I’ve gone the Tigers in this one. Sure I’m a little bias, but my theory behind my pick is the year so far. The Panthers haven’t faced much of a test in terms of opposition. Their hardest opponent was a well out of form Rabbitohs team. The Tigers however have played four games against teams currently sitting 6th it higher. They played the superstar Roosters, the heavy hitting Warriors, and not to mention the Storm away from home twice. The Warriors being the only loss! I just believe the Tigers are prepared for a hard hitting grind more than the Panthers are. Either way you tip it, both teams are taking on their toughest challenge his year to date! Bring it on!
Tigers by 2.

Stonecold


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