MATCH UP STATS
Round 9 resultNewcastle Knights: Knights 18 defeated by Rabbitohs 36Penrith Panthers: Panthers 20 defeated by Cowboys 26
6pm Friday May 11, 2018, at McDonald Jones Stadium
The first match of Friday night’s double header is one of the more interesting match-ups this round as two teams with winning records clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Newcastle Knights were blown off the park by the resurgant Bunnies on Friday night last week, scoring only half of South’s 36 points.
The 10th placed Novocastirians play their second game in a row at home on Friday night, which will be a big benefit coming into round 10.
The Cowboys only managed to score six points in the second half, and while Penrith was able to cut the end margin to a converted try late in the game it always felt like the match was a lost cause.
The game looms as a vital one for both clubs given how congested the 2018 season is to date. There’s six teams between the third placed Panthers and the tenth placed Knights heading into Friday, but just one game separates the two sides.
Players to watch – Knights v Panthers
Knights– Kalyn Ponga: Dynamic playmaker Kalyn Ponga has been one of the shining lights for the Knights this season. The gun fullback is the league leader in linebreaks assists and tackle breaks, while sitting equal second in try assists and just three metres behind Moses Mbye in kick return metres in 2018.
Panthers – Tyrone Phillips: Fijian flyer Tyrone Phillips was brilliant last round in his team’s defeat to the Cowboys, scoring two of his team’s trys. Penrith coach Anthony Griffin will be hoping that the 24-year-old can get on the scorer’s sheet a bit earlier than the 39 minute mark this week.
1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Brock Lamb, 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Josh King, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Aidan Guerra (c)
Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Luke Yates, 17 Daniel Saifiti
1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Isaah Yeo, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Corey Harawira-Naera, 13 James Fisher-Harris
Interchange: 14 Sione Katoa, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 James Tamou, 17 Jarome Luai
Knights v Panthers – who will win?
Both teams will be keen to atone for their round 9 defeats, but we believe that Penrith has the clear class advantage in this one.
Having Mitchell Pearce ruled out for the season has left a gaping hole in experience for the Knights, and while Ponga has been one of the best young players in the league to date, it sometimes feels like a solo effort.
We’re backing the Panthers to get back on the winners list and to consolidate their position inside the top-four.
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