Penrith Panthers vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs
MATCH UP STATS
Penrith Panthers vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs
Season record:Penrith Panthers: 2-3South Sydney Rabbitohs: 2-3
Line betting:Penrith Panthers: -4 ($1.94 @ Crownbet)South Sydney Rabbitohs: +4 ($1.90 @ Crownbet)
First team try-scorer:Penrith Panthers: Malakai Watene Zelezniak ($6 @ Crownbet)South Sydney Rabbitohs: Bryson Goodwin ($6 @ Crownbet)
Friday, April 7, 7.50pm, Pepper Stadium.
FORM has been temporary for both the Panthers and the Rabbitohs coming into a key fixture this Friday night at Pepper Stadium.
The Panthers looked impressive when beating the Knights 40-0 in round four, but suffered a 28-6 loss at the hands of the Melbourne Storm a week, bringing up fresh questions on their ability to contend for the ultimate.
The Rabbitohs had its season going well with back-to-back victories, but consecutive 6-20 losses have put the club one the back foot.
It’s tough to say which team is travelling better heading into the round six clash, which explains why bookmakers have them close in the market. The Panthers have beaten only the Knights and the Tigers – hardly major confidence boosters.
The Rabbitohs have wins against the Sea Eagles and Knights, with the Sea Eagles win proving a good form guide, given that team’s significant winning streak since.
Panthers fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with their team, which was one of the premiership favourites coming into the season. A raft of changes to its side this Friday night might not help its cause, but it could give the team a refresher course moving forward.
There was only two points in the game the last time these two sides met and form would suggest another close game is on the horizon.
Panthers news and team lineup
The Panthers enjoyed 58 percent of possession against the Melbourne Storm, but were unable to capitalise with the ball in-hand.
Halfback Nathan Cleary has scored two tries this season, but has only two try assists. The rising star believes his side can learn from their mistakes moving forward.
“It was one of those games that I think the scoreboard didn’t reflect the game but there is definitely a lot we can take out of it,” Cleary said.
“It’s just about the opportunities… when Melbourne give you those opportunities you need to take them. We didn’t do so on the weekend and we came away with a loss.”
Clearly accepted the blame for the loss, but is hoping to bounce back against the Rabbitohs, who aren’t as defensively-minded as the Storm.
“It was a big learning curve for me and I took a lot out of that game,” Cleary said.
“I take all the responsibility. It’s my job to guide the team around the park and get us across the try line. I didn’t do that on the weekend and hopefully I can bounce back.
“They’re a great team and they’ll be a tough test on Friday night.
“We have a lot of areas to improve on and hopefully we can do that. We need to be really diligent at training and work hard and when those opportunities come up we need to take them with both hands.
“We’ve got a lot of improvement to do and we know that. I think if we just work hard at training it should start to show on the field.
“It’s only early in the season but we’ve definitely got a few things to improve.”
The improvement will need to come from some new faces this Friday as Matt Moylan, Peta Hiku, Tyrone Peachey and Waqa Blake will all be missing.
Michael Oldfield and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak will make their club debuts and have been named in the starting side.
Panthers team and first try-scorer market:
1. Dylan Edwards – $14
2. Michael Oldfield – $12
3. Dean Whare – $13
4. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak – $10
5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak – $11
6. Te Maire Martin – $15
7. Nathan Cleary – $23
8. James Tamou – $46
9. Peter Wallace – $36
10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard – $61
11. Corey Harawira-Naera – $20
12. Isaah Yeo – $31
13. Trent Merrin – $31
Dean Whare has scored three tries from five games and he’s our top pick for the Penrith Panthers.
The centre has done a power of work this season with 49 runs which makes him a threat from all over the park. His error count is high with six, but the +1200 at Sportsbet is a good price for Whare to score first.
Rabbitohs confirmed team and news
South Sydney’s Sam Burgess believes his team isn’t far away from turning their season around, but finishing their good work was tough against the Cowboys last week.
“The boys pulled up pretty well (from the Townsville loss), it was tough conditions up there, it was hot and quite humid but I thought we dealt with the conditions quite well,” Burgess said.
“We stayed in the arm wrestle throughout the game but unfortunately weren’t clinical enough at times. We gave the ball away and a few seven play tackles and a good team like the Cowboys will take advantage of that. It was just too much for us in the end.”
Burgess admitted that his team will need to be better defensively if they’re going to stop the Panthers try-scoring threats on Friday.
“They attack from everywhere,” Burgess said.
“We will need to be good defensively and stay up in the line. I watched the game last week and I thought the score-line probably didn’t reflect their efforts.
“You can’t get carried away with that one, they’re back at home chasing a win and I think they get a few bodies back in their team. It will be a great challenge for us. The NRL doesn’t get any easier.”
The lack of team changes will help the Rabbitohs this week which face an inexperienced Panthers side.
Rabbitohs try-scoring odds and team line up:
1. Alex Johnston – $14
2. Braidon Burns – $12
3. Siosifa Talakai – $21
4. Robert Jennings – $14
5. Bryson Goodwin – $11
6. Cody Walker – $19
7. Adam Reynolds – $36
8. Thomas Burgess – $51
9. Damien Cook – $31
10. Kyle Turner – $34
11. John Sutton – $31
12. Angus Crichton – $36
13. Sam Burgess – $23
What better way to fire your team up than score? Sam Burgess has yet to score in five games this season, but he’s a character which can surprise punters.
The British lock has made a team-leading 158 tackles this season and has eight offloads. If conditions suit and Burgess can get close to the line he can be tough to stop.
The +2200 on offer is a price worth taking for the Rabbitohs captain.
Panthers vs. Rabbitohs game tip
This is a tough one to call and with a healthy team we’d have to pick the Panthers, but they’re not healthy in the slightest.
Friday’s team has been thrown into the deep end and we don’t think they have enough experience to handle what the Rabbitohs will bring.
Playing at Pepper Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Rabbitohs, but we’re picking an upset at $2.35.
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