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Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys: Lineups, preview and prediction

Pepper Stadium, Saturday 12th August, 7:30pm, AEST.


Overview

This match shapes up as a crucial battle within the top eight. The Panthers are looking to consolidate their position ahead of the finals whilst the Cowboys might have one eye on catching the top four, should they win in Penrith. This battle spells desperation for both teams and their respective situations. 

After their rather embarrassing loss to the Rabbitohs, the Panthers have rapidly improved by emerging triumphant in all their matches since. The bulk of these matches were in their home surroundings of the Pepper Stadium while their sole road trip across the ditch also saw them return with the points. 

The Cowboys have lost their last two matches, but they came against Melbourne and the Roosters, two of the competition’s strongest sides. They have performed admirably without co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott. North Queensland have won six out of 10 matches on the road, an improvement from their four away wins in 2016.

However, this match will be an even greater test of character for the Cowboys. Hard working second-rower Gavin Cooper, experienced winger Antonio Winterstein and five-eighth Te Maire Martin join their two inspirational co-captains on the injury list.

Recent Meetings

2017 – Rd 16 North Queensland 14 def. Penrith 12 at 1300SMILES Stadium

2016 – Rd 6 North Queensland 23 def. Penrith 18 at Pepper Stadium

2015 – Rd 6 North Queensland 30 def. Penrith 10 at Pepper Stadium

2014 – Rd 23 Penrith 23 def. North Queensland 22 at Pepper Stadium

2013 – Rd 22 North Queensland 36 def. Penrith 4 at Pepper Stadium

Selected Teams

Penrith Panthers

1. Dylan Edwards

2. Josh Mansour

3. Tyrone Peachey

4. Waqa Blake

5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

6. Tyrone May

7. Nathan Cleary

8. James Tamou

9. Peter Wallace

10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard

11. Corey Harawira-Naera

12. Isaah Yeo

13. Moses Leota

Interchange

14. Sione Katoa

15. Bryce Cartwright

16. Tim Browne

17. James Fisher-Harris

Reserves

18. Matt Moylan

19. Dean Whare

 

North Queensland Cowboys

1. Lachlan Coote

2. Kyle Feldt

3. Justin O’Neill

4. Kane Linnett

5. Javid Bowen

8. John Asiata

7. Michael Morgan

15. Shaun Fensom

9. Jake Granville

10. Scott Bolton

11. Coen Hess

12. Ethan Lowe

13. Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

14. Ben Hampton

16. Corey Jensen

17. Sam Hoare

20. Patrick Mago

Reserves

19. Kalyn Ponga

23. Kyle Laybutt

The Facts That Matter

Penrith Panthers

Despite their inconsistent start to 2017, the Panthers could solidify their position in the top eight with a win. There is a definite sense of confidence among the men from the foot of the mountains, given their impressive run towards the end of last season to finish sixth, before being eliminated by Canberra in the semi-finals. This is exemplified by their impressive run of form since their capitulation to the Rabbitohs five weeks ago. They will need to reduce their handling errors and missed tackles tallies, both of which are the fourth highest in the NRL, to consolidate their finals charge.

The form of precocious half Nathan Cleary has seen many talking him up as the potential replacement of Mitchell Pearce for the New South Wales State of Origin team.

North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys have adapted well without their inspirational half-back Johnathan Thurston but his absence is definitely apparent. They have scored the fifth least amount of tries, touching down 66 four-pointers across 403 points for the season. One heartening statistic for the Cowboys is that they have remained resolute in defence, conceding the fourth least amount of tries. 

In addition, the form of hooker Jake Granville has earned tremendous praise from commentators alongside players such as Cameron Smith. Granville, Lachlan Coote and Michael Morgan are all crucial members of the spine, which has been very successful for them since 2015. 

Prediction

The Panthers will be confident of doing enough for the win due to their recent home form but the Cowboys have a great recent record against Penrith, including at the Pepper Stadium. The Cowboys have shown that they can match it with the best and they should have enough to edge the two points here. Cowboys by 3.

Who do you think will win this important clash leading in to the finals, the Panthers or the Cowboys? Let us know in the comments below.

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Rob Sebastian

My name is Rob Sebastian. I absolutely love my sports, especially tennis and all forms of football. I love playing them as well, as I play tennis. I am a masters student, as well as a public servant and owner of a cleaning business.

  • Kieran Gibson

    Morgan is so good for us in attack but defensively this season has let in too many tries, hopefully panthers don’t target this, and I can side with your prediction.

Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys: Lineups, preview and prediction

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