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Round 17 begins with the Gold Coast Titans hitting the road to play the Penrith Panthers in what is a very important game for both sides in terms of staying in touch with the top eight. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 6pm (AEST).
The Panthers come into this one on a four-match winning streak, and will welcome back star half James Maloney from a second Origin series win in a row. Sitting in 10th spot on 16 points (same as the 8th-placed Sharks) they are well within reach of a finals berth after a shaky start to the season.
The Panthers are also boosted by the probable return from an ankle injury of Nathan Cleary who has been named in jersey 21. Should he make his way into the starting side he will slot in at halfback, pushing Maloney to five-eighth and Jarome Luai to the bench.
However, despite the Titans languishing in 15th place after just 4 wins all year, this game is far from a sure thing for the Panthers.
This Titans side is stacked with former Panthers such as Bryce Cartwright, Mitch Rein, Tyrone Peachey, as well as Leilani Latu in the reserves and even coach Garth Brennan. Performing well at their old stomping ground will serve as added motivation for these players, as well as the coach.
The Titans have been woeful this year and have reached a point where their finals hopes are slim at best. They basically need to win every single game for the remainder of the season if they are to have any hope of making the finals.
This will add to their desperation on the day, and whilst a win is unlikely, they will be sure to make life difficult for the Panthers in this game.
The Panthers with their red-hot form over the last month are irresistible in this one. It’ll be a tight one, but the Titans don’t have it in them to stop the Panthers’ march to the finals.
James Maloney’s confidence after Origin will be through the roof, while the likely return of Nathan Cleary will only add to the home side’s chances.
Panthers by 8.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 6pm (AEST).
Where: Panthers Stadium, Sydney
TV: Fox League
Streaming: NRL Digital Pass, Kayo Sports
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. James Maloney 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Liam Martin 14. Wayde Egan 15. Frank Winterstein 16. Moses Leota 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 18. Kaide Ellis 19. Jed Cartwright 20. Hame Sele 21. Nathan Cleary
1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jack Stockwell 9. Nathan Peats 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jarrod Wallace 14. Mitch Rein 15. Shannon Boyd 16. Jai Whitbread 17. Tyrone Peachey 18. Will Matthews 19. Leilani Latu 20. Brenko Lee 21. Jesse Arthars