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A strong second half from the Penrith Panthers has delivered them a 22-point victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons, who were in the match at half time but outclassed thereafter.
Penrith Panthers 40
St George Ilawarra Dragons 18
The Penrith Panthers will be looking to just about end St George Illawarra’s season this Friday night at Panthers Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:55pm AEST.
It wasn’t that long ago that questions were being asked about Ivan Cleary’s appointment and the Panther’s season seemed like it was in freefall.
Six wins in a row later, the Panthers have re-discovered their mojo and sit inside the top eight. Their 24-2 win over the Gold Coast Titans last Friday night was simply clinical. There was nothing special about the win, but they never looked threatened.
After missing the last few games due to injury, Nathan Cleary returns in the halves this weekend, with Jarome Luai going to the bench. Jed Cartwright returns to the reserves.
With the squad they have, you’d expect the Dragons to have a better winning record than they do. The loss of Gareth Widdop for the season and James Graham to long term injury has no doubt impacted on their year, but the fans will have wanted a lot more.
Their last start 36-14 loss to the Raiders in Wollongong was poor, with a whopping 54 missed tackles.
Ben Hunt will be rested this weekend with Darren Nicholls starting at halfback. Blake Lawrie comes in at prop for Jeremy Latimore with Josh Kerr and Patrick Kaufusi starting from the bench. In a massive in for the Dragons, James Graham returns to add plenty of starch to the Dragons pack.
This is a must-win game for the Dragons, who could fall 3 wins out of the 8 with another loss tonight.
You’d expect that St George Illawarra will be desperate, and James Graham will certainly have his team up for a big performance.
However, the Panthers are on a roll and get Nathan Cleary back to help James Maloney organise Penrith’s attack.
A big crowd at Panthers Stadium should see the home team get a win tonight.
Penrith Panthers by 8
When: 7:55pm AEST
Where: Panthers Stadium
TV: Nine, Fox League
Online: Live Pass, Kayo
Betting: Penrith Panthers: $1.60; St George Illawarra Dragons: $2.35
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 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Frank Winterstein 13. Isaah Yeo
Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Jarome Luai 16. Moses Leota 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
St George Illawarra Dragons
1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Darren Nicholls 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. James Graham
Interchange: 14. Josh Kerr 15. Korbin Sims 16. Patrick Kaufusi 17. Luciano Leilua