An Unlikely Top 4 Clash

Hayne and Pearce. Image courtesy of: Picture: Mark Nolan.
Jarryd Hayne will be rested this week against the Panthers. Image courtesy of: Picture: Mark Nolan.
Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels
Friday May 30 – 7:50 PM (AEST)


Who would’ve thought that in Round 12 this year we would be seeing the Penrith Panthers  taking on the Parramatta Eels  for a spot in the Top 4. Heading into Friday’s clash, both teams are coming off the bye. Well rested and full of confidence, after both notched wins two weeks ago, these two should be ready to rip in.

The Panthers have finally posted two wins in a row. Facing a Canberra Raiders team that was down on form and confidence, Penrith should have won the game convincingly. But some poor errors and penalties made life difficult to overcome a spluttering Green Machine. One thing they can take away from the victory is the partnership between Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace continues to get better and better. Elijah Taylor and Lewis Brown return from injury, dropping Tyrone Peachey to the bench and Matt Robinson to 18th man. the exclusion of Jamal Idris for personal reasons is a big blow for the Mountain Men.

Semi Radradra is a force. With the size of James Tamou and the speed of Billy Slater, the 'flying Fijian' is a target for his own team. Parra love to give the ball to Semi and watch him work his magic. Eleven tries from 10 outings shows the basic strategy (usually reserved for under 8s) is working. With Chris Sandow and Corey Norman playing some outstanding footy as well, everything else is falling into place. Ryan Morgan comes into the centres for Willie Tonga, with Lee Mossop named as 18th man for the first time this season. Jarryd Hayne comes back from Origin duty full of confidence, following his man-of-the-match heroics for NSW in Origin 1, but will be rested by Brad Arthur following an exhausting effort on Wednesday.

Given the way these two teams are playing, it could go either way. The exclusion of Hayne puts the Panthers in the drivers seat.

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