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The NRL’s move to Queensland forces the Penrith Panthers to play a ‘home’ game against the Brisbane Broncos at none other than Suncorp Stadium… not that it should matter, though. Follow along with live scores on The Roar from 7:35pm (AEST).
With the Origin period over, no team will receive more of a boost than the Panthers, last year’s runner-up now having more players freed up than anyone else.
Of their representative players, only Jarome Luai (knee) and Nathan Cleary (shoulder) missed their Round 18 victory over the Warriors, with Luai returning here. Having lost twice during the Origin period due to their bevy of unavailable stars, expect to see the Panthers remind everyone why they were once clear flag favourites in the run home.
A strong first half gave away to an abject second for the Broncos in their high-scoring defeat to the Tigers last week. Against the attacking might of the Panthers, Kevvie Walters has a serious job ahead of him to stop the flood of points that could be coming on Saturday night.
Surprisingly, Xavier Coates, who was rested following Origin duties against the Tigers, has been named in the reserves on his return, giving Jamayne Isaako another chance to try and resurrect his spluttering career.
That the match is played at the Broncos’ home ground won’t faze the Panthers. They’ve won their past six games in Queensland, and plenty of their players also enjoyed the ultimate success for NSW in an Origin series played entirely in the sunshine state.
1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Charlie Staines, 3. Stephen Crichton, 4. Matt Burton, 5. Brian To’o, 6. Jarome Luai, 7. Tyrone May, 8. Moses Leota, 9. Api Koroisau, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Isaah Yeo (c)
Bench/Reserves: 14. Mitch Kenny, 15. Scott Sorensen, 16. Spencer Leniu, 17. Liam Martin | 18. Brent Naden, 19. Paul Momirovski, 20. Matt Eisenhuth, 21. Izack Tago
1. Tesi Niu, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Tyson Gamble, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Tom Flegler, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn (c), 12. Jordan Riki, 13. Kobe Hetherington
Bench/Reserves: 14. Cory Paix, 15. Rhys Kennedy, 16. Keenan Palasia, 17. TC Robati | 18. Ethan Bullemor, 19. Jesse Arthars, 20. Xavier Willison, 21. Xavier Coates