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Panthers get chance to redeem themselves in Magic Round blockbuster

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Roar Guru
9th May, 2022
5

The NRL is now through a third of the season and things are heating up as we reach one of the best weeks on the NRL calendar. Magic Round is such an exciting weekend and arguably the most anticipated 2022 match will take place on Saturday night.

The Penrith Panthers will face the Melbourne Storm, and I will be lucky enough to have my bum on a seat at Suncorp.

Penrith are coming off the back of their first loss of the season as they fell two points short of their cross-town rivals the Parramatta Eels. It was a close contest all game before the Eels scored back-to-back tries which placed them in front, holding an eight-point cushion.

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Spencer Leniu crossed the line in the 77th minute which set up a grandstand finish. Unfortunately for Panthers fans, Nathan Cleary was unable to slot the two-point field goal attempt which handed them their first home loss in three years.

Despite this loss, you can’t take much away from how superb their season has been so far and they will have a chance to redeem themselves this week.

The Melbourne Storm are currently the best performing team in the league and if the Mountain Men are able to pull off a win, it would certainly make up for last week’s loss. Many fans have described the chase for the premiership as a two-horse race. This is a very fair description as Melbourne and Penrith have been by far the standout teams of 2022.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Harry Grant of the Storm passes the ball during the round 23 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Melbourne Storm at Cbus Super Stadium, on August 19, 2021, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Following last week, many have decided on the Storm as the favourite to hold their second premiership in two years. From my perspective, there is certainly lots riding on Saturday nights blockbuster as I believe it will gift the winning side a high boost of momentum. We can’t forget that the Storm also lost to Parramatta earlier in the season, which adds another fascinating factor to this contest.

Melbourne will head into the Magic Round clash without the duo of Ryan Papenhuyzen and Reimis Smith. Ryan was creating a Dally M-calibre season, however, this injury may apply a bump in the road, as well as reportedly being in doubt for the Origin opener.

Tyrone Wishart was one of the standout stars on the weekend and I believe he should be the man to take over Smith’s position in the centres or even fill in at fullback. I can’t really see Bellamy opting with that decision as I think Nick Meaney will be the better option. Meaney simply just seems like a better-built fullback than Wishart, and I believe that Tyrone is a suitable centre.

The battle that I will be most looking forward to is in the halves. It will be incredible to see which duo will perform better and take over the game. Whichever pairing is more dominant will take home the two points. I believe that the Storm will just win this game, despite the absence of their superstar fullback.

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However, if Penrith win, expect thoughts of fans to shift to the premiership race.

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