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Round 1 of the NRL season continues this Saturday night as the Penrith Panthers take on the reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters at Panthers Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:35pm (AEDT).
Panthers fans had every right last year to be disappointed as their much fancied team finished tenth. Injuries again bit hard but they just didn’t click as well as hoped. There is perhaps less expectation in 2020 after the departure of James Maloney but this still young team will be looking to make their mark.
They have bolstered their pack through the acquisitions of Zane Tetevano and Api Koroisau, with high hopes also for a fully fit Viliame Kikau.
Nathan Cleary takes on a lot more responsibility with Jarome Luai more likely to come in and out of the game when opportunities arise. Brian To’o made an immediate impact last year for the Panthers and fans will be hoping for more of the same.
No Cooper Cronk, no Latrell Mitchell and no Boyd Cordner this week for the Roosters. Will they be the same team? The pressure is firmly on Kyle Flanagan trying to guide this team around the park.
They are a little short in the backs, hence the play for Josh Morris. However, a back line featuring James Tedesco, Joseph Manu and Daniel Tupou is still up there with the best in the league.
Their pack is probably best known for hard work rather than superstars but Victor Radley is going to be just that. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is the leader of a forward back that just doesn’t get beaten.
It’s Round 1 at the foot of the mountains and Ivan Cleary’s men will figure they have a good shot at the Roosters, without three key members of their premiership team, early in the season.
But this is where Trent Robinson is so good. He will have his team focused on getting the little things right like completed sets and kick chase. The Roosters’ attention to detail is the best in the comp and that will win them this Round 1 clash.
Sydney Roosters by four.
When: 7:35pm (AEDT)
Where: Panthers Stadium
TV: Fox League
Online: Kayo, Live Pass
Betting: Penrith Panthers: $2.74, Sydney Roosters: $1.44
1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo. Interchange: 14. Stephen Crichton 15. James Fisher-Harris 16. Moses Leota 17. Jack Hetherington
1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Angus Crichton 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Sitili Tupouniua 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley. Interchange:14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins