Jarrod Mullen only has 2 more weeks to make a claim for a Blues jersey. Picture: Gregg Porteous/dailytelegraph.com.au
Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
Sunday May 11 – 2:05 PM (AEST)
Jarrod Mullen put in a first-class performance for Country last Sunday. If the No.6 jersey is available for NSW come Origin time, the classy half has shown he's the man for the job. He spearheads a Newcastle Knights outfit that has been inconsistent to say the least. With only two wins so far this year, Wayne Bennett’s men need to turn things around. But they come up against a Penrith QL_SS#1402222;6030#SS# side that also can’t seem to string victories together. Unable to win back-to-back games so far this year, maybe the week off is just what they needed.
While it’s still early in the season, Newcastle need to start winning. To avoid falling too far behind the pack, the Novacastrians need to start a run on Sunday. A handy mixture of youth and experience guided by one of the game’s greatest coaches, the tide should turn sooner rather than later. Akuila Uate returns from injury in place of Jake Mamo. David Fa’alogo comes into the starting side, with Zane Tetevano stood down by the club for disciplinary reasons. Korbin Sims has been ruled out through suspension. Matt Hilder returns to play his first game for the Knights this season.
Learn to pass boys! At the moment, the Panthers seem to only score off kicks, and that becomes predictable very quickly. With big boppers Nigel Plum and Brent Kite up front, the Panthers need to utilize their size close to the line. Going down to the last-placed Sharks last round, the men at the foot of the mountain needed the rest. Matt Moylan (City) was outstanding in the Rep round and Dean Whare (Kiwis) again showed what he is capable off, marking up against Greg Inglis on Friday night in the test. Tyrone Peachey starts for the injured Elijah Taylor (knee), with Matt Robinson coming on the bench. Tim Grant has been dropped, with Sam Mckendry replacing him on the pine.
If one of these teams can find some consistent form, they can definitely shake things up in the competition. The Panthers have been solid throughout the year and if they score from something other than a kick, expect them to come away with this one.
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