Josh Mansour is pushing for an Origin berth. Image courtesy of: news.optuszoo.com.au
Gold Coast Titans v Penrith Panthers
CBUS Super Stadium
Saturday June 7 – 5:35 PM (AEST)
The Penrith Panthers are looking more like the real deal every week. As Peter Wallace and Jamie Soward continue to grow their combination, the more the Panthers benefit. Luck is just not on the Gold Coast Titans side. Being without their first string spine for the better part of a month, the men from Gold Coast have slumped to three straight losses.
All the talk is about Josh Mansour. A week ago, it was about whether he will stay with the Panthers or take up a lucrative offer from the Canberra Raiders. Now that he's finalised a two-year deal with Phil Gould and Co, it’s all about if he will be picked for State of Origin. With injuries to both the Morris twins, it is a definite possibility. Last year’s NYC’s 'Player of the Year' Bryce Cartwright has retained his spot on the bench, as coach Ivan Cleary names the same 17 which beat the Eels last Friday night.
Hopefully the bye is exactly what the Titans needed. Coming off three straight losses, they welcome back a couple of big names from suspension and injury. Against the Warriors two weeks ago they were good, just not good enough. Leading at half-time, they gave the in-form Warriors just a little sniff and that was all they needed. Greg Bird returns from suspension, pushing Ben Ridge to lock and Paul Carter to the bench. The return of Kevin Gordon and Brad Takairangi to the backline pushes David Mead to the wing. Kalifa Faifai Loa and Anthony Don drop back to QLD Cup. Luke Bailey shifts to the bench to accommodate the return of Nate Myles from injury, with Matt Srama starting for the injured Beau Falloon. Albert Kelly returning to half-back means Beau Henry has been omitted. James Roberts has been named 18th man.
Another classic match-up could definitely be on the cards. The return of some big names for Titans means the Panthers have to be on the ball, or they could go home with their tails between their legs.
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