Panthers v Warriors: Schick Preview
Wed 10 May, 2017, 11:30am
By Corey Rosser, New Zealand Correspondent, NRL.com
Schick Hydro Preview: Penrith Panthers v Warriors
Saturday, 3.00pm AEDT, 5.00pm NZT
After a week off the Warriors and Panthers will look to resume their NRL Telstra Premiership campaigns in positive fashion in Round 10, after both experiencing disappointing opening thirds of the season.
Both sides got through the Representative Round unscathed despite providing a huge contingent to the various teams who took the field, and will bring near full-strength teams to Pepper Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Kiwi international back-rower James Fisher-Harris comes back into the starting side for Penrith, with fellow New Zealander Corey Harawira-Naera dropping to the bench and Viliame Kikau falling out of 17.
For the Warriors Solomone Kata returns from injury in the place of rookie Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in their only change, while captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will play his 100th first grade match and prop Sam Lisone will reach his 50-game milestone this weekend.
Why the Panthers can win: Losing can become just as contagious as winning, and through the first nine rounds of the NRL Telstra Premiership it appears that became the case for the Panthers. That is why the week off for the Representative Round – which saw 18 of Penrith's players spend time in camp with their respective rep sides – could be just what the doctor ordered. This is the ideal time for Penrith to rediscover their mojo against a team who have been up and down all year.
Why the Warriors can win: The Panthers make a lot of errors, the most in the entire competition in fact at an average of 12.5 per match, while the Warriors have made a habit of looking after the ball in 2017. If the Kiwi outfit can hit somewhere near their 76.63 per cent average completion rate then they are going to put a lot of pressure on Penrith and force them to get through plenty of defensive work. It will also go a long way to containing the Panthers' attack, which we know can be potent on its day.
History: Panthers v Warriors: Played 37; Panthers 20; Warriors 16; Drawn 1. The last time they met it went down to golden point, with Shaun Johnson scoring to put an end to his side's three-match losing run against Penrith. A look back even further shows the Warriors have beaten the Panthers only twice in eight encounters stretching back to 2010. At Pepper Stadium the Panthers have won their last three against the Warriors and scored 22 points or more on each occasion.
What are the odds: By far the most even-betting game of the round according to Sportsbet. The money is split virtually 50/50 in the head-to-head market and both sides have been well-backed to win 1-12.
Match officials: Referee: Ben Cummins. Assistant referee: Chris Sutton. Sideline officials: Russell Turner and Clayton Sharpe. Review official: Ben Galea. Senior review official: Jared Maxwell.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live coverage from 3.00pm (AEDT). Sky Sports - Live coverage from 5.00pm (NZT).
NRL.com predicts: Waiting for Penrith to find form in 2017 feels a bit like poking a bear in the eye until it wakes up. But this might just be the week they come to life, with the Warriors having lost all four of their away games this season. Penrith have enough talent to be the better team right now and if they can put it together they should win this one. Panthers by six.