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NRL Round 15: Roosters vs Panthers preview and prediction

Dylan Napa of the Roosters is sin binned during the round 11 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on May 18, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
14th June, 2018
4

The Roosters and Panthers lock horns in a battle of two finals-bound teams at Allianz Stadium.

We get a Friday night blockbuster as the Roosters and Panthers collide at Allianz Stadium on Friday night. The Roosters have quietly won three straight games after accounting for the Knights 18-16 in Newcastle last week in a game they were made to fight for until the end.

The Panthers made it five victories in a row to remain equal top of the table with the Dragons thanks to a thrilling 21-20 victory over the Raiders in a game they trailed 20-14 with just seven minutes to go before Nathan Cleary kicked the winning field goal.

Sydney Roosters scouting report
The Roosters have the luxury of making just the one change to the side that beat Newcastle, with Mitch Aubusson named to start and Siosiua Taukeiaho going back to the bench. James Tedesco was the man of the match in Origin 1 and has started to crank up his form at his new club after a slow start to the season.

Penrith Panthers scouting report
The Panthers have lost Viliame Kikau to a knee injury, with Jack Hetherington replacing him on the interchange. James Maloney will be up for another big game against one of his former clubs. With he and Nathan Cleary coming up against Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk, it’s a huge battle between the halves of both sides.

Verdict
I think the Roosters are building up to a huge performance, and they might be able to make a statement with a narrow victory over the Panthers here. The Panthers threw a lot into that game in Canberra last week, with three Origin players backing up in a game that was physical and decided in the last minute. After five straight victories I feel they might be close to a loss, whereas the Roosters have been quietly going about their work, beating some of the lower sides of late. I think they might win this one and sneak home by six to underline themselves as a premiership contender in 2018.

Roosters by one to six points in a high-quality game.