The ladder leading Penrith Panthers make the trek north to the Central Coast to take on in-form New Zealand Warriors on Friday. After a season from hell, the Warriors have recorded back-to-back victories but will face their stiffest to date this weekend.
Warriors Form & Team News
The Warriors have been playing outstanding football in the last month, defeating the Sea Eagles and Tigers in their last two matches after narrowly going down to competition favourites Sydney Roosters.
Currently in 11th position, the Warriors are just two wins out of the top eight.
Lachlan Burr replaces Jack Hetherington (suspension) in the front-row, with Isaiah Papali’i taking his role on the bench.
The Warriors team for Friday can be found below:
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Patrick Herbert 3. Adam Pompey 4. Peta Hiku 5. George Jennings 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Karl Lawton 10. Lachlan Burr 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Isaiah Papali'i 18. Jack Murchie 20. Gerard Beale 21. Adam Keighran 22. Josh Curran
Panthers Form & Team News
The Panthers' first-half performance against the Canberra Raiders last weekend was one of the best halves of football you will see, with a mix of power, strength, speed and skill highlighting why they are sitting on top of the NRL ladder.
This weekend the Panthers aim for a club record nine straight victories, led by their star halfback Nathan Cleary.
Entering this week's match with an unchanged line-up, fullback Dylan Edwards is a possible late inclusion as he looks to return from a hamstring injury.
The Panthers team list for Friday can be found below:
1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone May 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brent Naden 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Api Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Daine Laurie 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Zane Tetevano 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Dylan Edwards 20. Matt Burton 21. Billy Burns
Warriors vs Panthers Head To Head
The Panthers have a strong record in head-to-head matches between the two clubs, winning 24 of 41 matches.
Last time the two sides met, Matt Burton dominated the match, scoring an early double as the Panthers recorded a 26-0 win.
Warriors vs Panthers Betting Odds
The Panthers are the shortest priced favourites of the round at 1.11. The Warriors are 6.50 outsider to maintain their own winning run.
Warriors vs Panthers Match Up
Tohu Harris and Villiame Kikau, two of the biggest and most dominant ball runners in the game, are set to lock horns in a monumental battle.
Both giants possess an extremely strong running game, with their massive physical size complimented by their slick skills. Offensive targets for their respective sides, Kikau and Harris are two of the best edge runners in the game. Often carrying the ball in one hand, they both have quick footwork and the ability to offload the ball in any situation.
Each side will be looking for their man to stand up on Friday, and if Harris or Kikau is able to dominate their opposing player, it could be the deciding factor.
Warriors vs Panthers Key Stats
- The Panthers are bidding for a club record 9th straight victory.
- The Warriors have won five of seven matches at their makeshift home ground on the Central Coast.
- The Panthers for-and-against dominates the Warriors in both attack and defence, scoring 332 points to the Warriors 189, and conceding 180 to the Warriors 320.