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NRL first semi final preview – Cronulla vs Penrith

Regular Season Finish:
Cronulla Sharks: 4th
Penrith Panthers: 5th

Premiership Odds:
Cronulla Sharks: $10
Penrith Panthers: $15

First final result:
Cronulla Sharks: defeated by the Sydney Roosters, 12 – 21
Penrith Panthers: defeated the New Zealand Warriors, 27 – 12

Kick off at Allianz Stadium from 7.40pm

It’s Cronulla and Penrith locking horns in the first semi final this weekend and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The Sharks were gallant last week against the Sydney Roosters but were unable to maintain the pressure for the full 80 minutes. Cronulla showed flashes of brilliance which saw them finish inside the top-four but a lack of composure in the second half cost them dearly.

The Penrith Panthers fell behind early against the Warriors at home in their finals opener but quickly arrested back momentum to secure a strong win.

The Panthers kept the Warriors scoreless in the second half to run out comfortable 15 point winners.

Can Penrith keep their winning roll going or will the Sharks take back control of their season?

Team line ups

Cronulla Sharks

1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Josh Dugan 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Edrick Lee 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Scott Sorensen 13. Paul Gallen

Intercharge: 14. Kurt Capewell 15. James Segeyaro 16. Aaron Woods 17. Jayson Bukuya

Penrith Panthers

1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Christian Crichton 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Trent Merrin 9. Sione Katoa 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris

Intercharge: 14. Tyrone May 15. Moses Leota 16. Corey Harawira-Naera 17. James Tamou

Players to watch

Sharks – Matt Moylan

Going up against his old side, Moylan was quick to pour cold water over the emotion heading into the match. We’ve got no doubt the former Panther will be keen to make a big impression. The do-or-die clash should bring the best out of Moylan on Friday night.

Panthers – James Maloney

Expect to see someone different?

The man jumped ship to from Penrith from Cronulla when Moylan made the switch was always going to be under scrutiny coming into this clash and all eyes will be on Maloney come Friday. We’re expecting a big one from the gun recruit.

Sharks vs Panthers – Who wins?

We’re backing the Sharkies to bounce back sharply in this one.

Despite losing Australian representative Wade Graham for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, the Sharks look much better across the park and have a multitude of attacking options.

The Panthers couldn’t have been more impressive after going behind early against the Warriors, but their opening 15 minutes raised a lot of eyebrows. Can they play strong attacking football from the get-go?

We doubt it.

We’re backing Cronulla to make it through to the preliminary final.

Result: Cronulla Sharks – $1.68

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