Penrith Panthers vs Manly Sea Eagles: NRL live scores, blog
Manly win the NRL Grand Final 2011 (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)
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Penrith Vs. Manly
2012 NRL Premiership Season, 27 May, 2012
|Centrebet Stadium, Penrith, NSW|
|Penrith 22 defeated Manly 4|
|Referee: M Cecchin|
|Touch judges: J Younis & B Wood|
The Penrith Panthers get a shot at redemption when they take on the Manly Sea Eagles in this afternoon’s NRL clash at Centrebet Stadium. Join us for live scores and commentary from 2.00pm AEST.
In round six, when these sides last faced off, Manly ran out 30-0 victors. Daly Cherry-Evans was brilliant that day in a depleted Manly outfit missing the likes of Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, Kieran Foran and Tony Williams.
It’s a stronger Manly side this time around with the Stewart brothers backing up from Origin to play, although Foran is again likely to be ruled out with an ankle injury and Williams has been ruled out for six weeks with a back problem.
For Penrith, who sit on just six competition points, every game is do or die at this stage, and they’ll be looking at this as must-win despite the chasm that exists between these two sides on the NRL ladder.
They welcome back Nigel Plum after an extended period on the sidelines and he should add some much-needed starch to their second row.
Captain Luke Lewis has been ruled a 50/50 chance to play with a sore shoulder after Origin, and there’s also talk that youngster Blake Austin will be dropped in favour of Travis Burns at five eighth.
Manly have had the far better of this clash in recent years, winning 10 of the last 15 encounters.
It reflects the dominance of Manly in that time and the travails of the Panthers, and it’s hard to imagine this one going any differently. Indeed, Manly will start heavy favourites.
Still, the Panthers are not to be underestimated. If Lewis plays, they’re not that far from full strength, with only Michael Gordon and Nathan Smith remaining on the sidelines.
The front row of Tim Grant, Sam McKendry and Dayne Weston have the ability to dominate any forward pack on their day, though they’ll have their work cut out for them against veterans like Jason King and Brent Kite.
The big question mark for the Panthers remains over their halves – in particular Luke Walsh. While the club has shown clear faith in his abilities, he’s yet to repay that faith with anywhere near the consistency that is needed.
The same cannot be said for Cherry-Evans, whose performance in this fixture in round six belied his years and showed just how special a player he really is, and he’ll be looking to dominate again today.
Meanwhile, Anthony Watmough – who will feel hard done by in being overlooked for Origin – will be out with a point to prove. Look for a rampaging performance from him.
Can the Panthers capitalise on the home ground advantage and the tired legs of the Eagles’ rep players, or will the defending premiers prove too strong? Join us from 2.00pm AEST for live score updates and debate on our live blog, and be sure to give us your opinion in the space below if you’re watching.
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