Round 18 Preview. Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla Sharks

Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla Sharks 
Panthers Stadium
Friday 13th of July
6:00pm AEST 8:00pm NZ

Round 18 kicks off with potentially the match of the round as the Cronulla Sharks travel to the foot of the mountain in an attempt to make it 6 in a row against the Penrith Panthers, a record dating back to April 2015. With only a 2 point difference on the ladder, when looking back this match could have massive effects on the top 4 at seasons end.

Team lists.

Panthers: 1 Caleb Aekins, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 Tyrone May, 7 Jarome Luai, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 James Tamou, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo (c), 13 James Fisher-Harris

Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Corey Harawira-Naera, 16 Jack Hetherington, 17 Moses Leota

Reserves: 18 Liam Martin, 19 Kaide Ellis, 20 Tyrone Peachey, 21 James Maloney, 22 Nathan Cleary

Key match ups.

Luai vs Townsend
Nathan Cleary isn't expected to be play after Origin just 48 hours prior, so it will be up to Jarome Luai to step up just like last round as he goes head to head with Chad Townsend.

Both players will be relied upon, with guiding their monster packs around the field and control the games momentum through their general play kicking. We've seen both players cross the try line for fun throughout the season and I'm expecting a #7 to bag himself a meaty on Friday.

Kikau vs Graham
Viliame Kikau is quickly becoming one of the best second row players in the game, who has the ability to break a game apart with a one simple play.

The same goes for the man he is lining up against. Wade Graham has unfortunately had a injury plagued season which seen him miss out on Origin selection. But the Sharks won't be to upset about that, a fresh and Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sione Katoa, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Kurt Capewell, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c)

Interchange: 14 Joseph Paulo, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya

Reserves: 18 Scott Sorensen, 19 Ava Seumanufagai, 20 Sosaia Feki, 21 Kyle Flanaganpumped Graham ready for the run to the finals is something every side would be happy with. Could we see a match winning play from either one of these player's? To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me.

The Twins...
Sione Katoa vs Sione Katoa
One is a winger the other is a hooker, but one thing is for sure. This is the first time in NRL history that a Sione Katoa will play another.

So which Sione will get the win?

Friday night, foot of the mountain and the best referee in the game, everything this game needs to be the match of the round.

Even without the NSW Blues backing up, I'm predicting it won't be a happy return for Moylan at the foot of the mountain. Penrith to break the 5 match losing streak and do it comfortably, 10 points plus.



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