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Still depleted by Origin, the Penrith Panthers will aim to return to their winning ways when they take on the Cronulla Sharks on Friday night. Join The Roar for live scores from Kogarah from 7:55pm (AEST).
Only Liam Martin and NSW 18th man Api Koroisau of the Panthers’ Origin representatives have been named to back up just two days later, with Jarome Luai, Brian To’o, captain Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo and Kurt Capewell all to miss. With Ivan Cleary’s men still sitting pretty atop the table despite last week’s loss to the Tigers – their first of the season – makes the call to give their stars a rest an obvious one.
That the Panthers remain favourites for this match despite their list of unavailabilities is a reflection of the strength of their depth. However, their lesser lights failed to fire in a 26-6 Round 13 loss to the fired-up Tigers, with Tyrone May’s effort in the halves in particular coming in for criticism. With the Origin quintet to return in Round 15, it could be the last chance for some of them to stake a claim for a permanent starting spot.
The Sharks headed into their Round 13 bye off the back of a confidence-boosting 38-10 win over the Titans, their second in a row. Remarkably, despite a 4-8 record, Josh Hannay’s charges sit tenth, just two wins behind the eighth-placed Dragons with a game in hand. Hannay has opted against making any changes to the outfit that routed the Titans a fortnight ago, meaning Chad Townsend will miss entirely once again.
A full-strength Panthers embarrassed the Sharks with a 48-0 thrashing in Round 9; in front of a home crowd, in form, and with an undermanned Penrith line-up to attack, the Sharks have a perfect opportunity to make amends.
Kick-off: 7:55pm (AEST)
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
TV: Fox League, Channel Nine (NSW/QLD/ACT/NT), 9Gem (VIC/WA/SA/TAS)
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go, 9Now
Odds: Sharks $2.38, Panthers $1.58 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Will Kennedy, 2. Connor Tracey, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Aiden Tolman, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham (c), 13. Toby Rudolf
Bench/Reserves: 14. Braydon Trindall, 15. Siosifa Talakai, 16. Jack Williams, 17. Andrew Fifita | 18. Teig Wighton, 20. Franklin Pele
1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Charlie Staines, 3. Stephen Crichton, 4. Paul Momirovski, 5. Robert Jennings, 6. Matt Burton, 7. Tyrone May, 8. Moses Leota, 9. Api Koroisau, 10. James Fisher-Harris (c), 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Scott Sorensen, 13. Matt Eisenhuth
Bench/Reserves: 14. Mitch Kenny, 15. J’maine Hopgood, 16. Spencer Leniu, 17. Izack Tago | 20. Liam Martin, 26. Brent Naden