Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has named his team for this Saturday night’s opening round clash against the Sydney Roosters, with Caleb Aekins named at fullback in place of an injured Dylan Edwards.
22-year-old Aekins was expected to get the nod to replace Edwards after making four NRL appearances over the past two years.
Edwards is currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
Penrith’s new halves combination of Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary has also been confirmed with the pair named to lead the side around the park against the defending Premiers.
Zane Tetevano will make his Panthers debut, while Api Koroisau has been named at hooker.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has also named his side for the clash, with captain Boyd Cordner to miss the clash.
Penrith team for round 1: Caleb Aekins, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Brent Naden, Brian To’o, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary, James Tamou (c), Api Koroisau, Zane Tetevano, Viliame Kikau, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo. Interchange: Stephen Crichton, James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota, Jack Hetherington. (Reserves: Billy Burns, Matt Burton, Jed Cartwright, Kaide Ellis).
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.