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The Canberra Raiders were too strong for the Penrith Panthers in Penrith today, winning 30 to 18. The game started off well for the Panthers who had much of the early possession and nabbed the first try but once the green machine got into their rhythm they looked very comfortable.
In a familiar story Canberra’s new imports starred, with John Bateman and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad having a field day. Both scored tries as the Raiders ran in six to the Panthers’ three, the scoreline slightly closer due to an off day with the boot for conversion kicker Jarrod Croker.
Penrith looked in it at stages but they continue their struggle to score more than 20 points a game and wasted a lot of possession in the Raiders 20. Once the Raiders took the lead they never seemed too troubled and Ricky Stewart should be happy with their goal-line defence.
Penrith’s winning run now comes to an end but they will feel like they can build on this loss and solidify the areas they struggle in, particularly their fifth tackle options.
Canberra, on the other hand, now look certain to challenge for a top-four spot and a home final come September, a welcome result for the team that didn’t make the finals last year.
Penrith Panthers 18
Canberra Raiders 30
The Penrith Panthers will be looking to extend their seven-game winning streak as they take on a strong Canberra Raiders side intent on solidifying their top-four spot. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 4:05pm (AEST).
The Panthers are in blistering hot form and playing in front of perhaps the most vocal home crowd in the NRL. Their spirits will be high and they will come out of the blocks looking to make a statement.
Canberra will be focused on stemming this Penrith avalanche, as their own credentials suggest Ricky Stewart’s team could be setting up for a home final come September.
On paper not a lot separates the two sides with the major weakness coming from the midweek suspension of Viliame Kikau.
No doubt Canberra will look to exploit this weakness and could find success, with the black cats having some unfortunate stats on their side. They lead the league in missed tackles (672) are second in penalties conceded (138) and third in errors (202).
The Panthers have also struggled to score points, having only scored more than 24 once this season. Luckily that was last week and the Penrith faithful will be hoping this signals a change in fortunes.
The key matchup will be in the spines, particularly when the teams decide who will snare control of the match first. The big difference in this matchup is the hookers, with the veteran Canberra playmaker Josh Hodgson up against a seven-game rookie in Mitchell Kenny.
Kenny will have to be more alert than he normally is, with Hodgson boasting a creative kicking game and fantastic strategic mind. However, although the diminutive hooker has only played seven first grade games he has a perfect record with no losses at the NRL level.
If Penrith can keep this game close then the crowd and their field goal kicking ability (having slotted the most of any team this year) should be able to get them home.
However Canberra’s rolling forward pack, led by Josh Hodgson, has been too much for most teams this year and should bring the Panthers back to earth.
Canberra by 8
Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 4:05pm (AEST).
Kick-off: 4:05pm (AEST)
Venue: Panthers Stadium, Penrith
TV: Live, Fox League 501, Channel 9
Online: Live, Kayo Sports, Foxtel App, Foxtel Now, 9Now, NRL Digital Pass
Betting: Panthers $2.00, Canberra $1.80
Overall record: Played 43, Panthers 22, Raiders 21
Last meeting: Round 8, Canberra 30 defeated Penrith 12 at McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga
Record at venue: Played 19, Penrith 12, Raiders 7
Referees: Ashley Klein, Dave Munro
1 Dylan Edwards
2 Josh Mansour
3 Dean Whare
4 Brent Naden
5 Brian To’o
6 James Maloney
7 Nathan Cleary
8 James Tamou (c)
9 Mitch Kenny
10 James Fisher-Harris
11 Viliame Kikau
12 Frank Winterstein
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Wayde Egan
15 Jarome Luai
16 Moses Leota
17 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
18 Jed Cartwright
19 Spencer Leniu
20 Stephen Crichton
21 Liam Martin
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
2. Bailey Simonsson
3. Jarrod Croker (C)
4. Michael Oldfield
5. Jordan Rapana
6. Jack Wighton
7. Aidan Sezer
8. Josh Papalii
9. Josh Hodgson (C)
10. Sia Soliola
11. John Bateman
12. Elliott Whitehead
13. Joe Tapine
14. Siliva Havili
15. Emre Guler
16. Corey Horsburgh
17. Dunamis Lui
18. Sam Williams
19. Royce Hunt
20. Sebastian Kris
21. JJ Collins