Lang on League: Who I want the Panthers to play in Preliminary Final

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By winning last Friday night over the Roosters, Penrith get the chance to sit back this weekend and watch two clubs fight for the chance to play them in the Preliminary Final on Saturday, October 17 at ANZ Stadium.

The Panthers will get to work on their defence, polish their attack and let those minor bumps and bruises heal while the Parramatta Eels and South Sydney Rabbitohs play sudden death football.

So who will be their opponent come 10pm this Saturday night and will Penrith be able to beat them the following weekend?

At this level there are no easy matches but is there a side that the Panthers would prefer to play?

Jarome Luai in action for Penrith against Sydney. Photo: NRL Images.

The Bunnies are on a hot streak at the moment, it seems as if their loss to the Bulldogs in Round 19 has spurred them on to greater things. They run hard and they run fast and seem almost impossible to stop once they get into the opposition’s 20-metre zone. They have scored over 100 points in attack in a fortnight and their defence has been solid as well.

The Eels on the other hand appear to be in free-fall. They competed hard against the Storm but in the end were blown off the paddock and lost both wingers to major injuries.

Parramatta have hobbled into the Finals and have showed only patches of brilliance during their last three encounters.

On form, the answer as to who Penrith would prefer to play on October 17 seems obvious.

It’s the Bunnies of course, because to be the best, you have to beat the best.

What caught my eye last week…

It was almost a prerequisite for teams to get out of the blocks fast, race to a double-digit lead (Roosters 10-0, Sharks 14-6, Eels 12-0 and Knights 14-0) and then let the game slip away and watch the opposition pile on the points to victory. This sort of abnormality won’t be repeated again this weekend surely?

What game I’m looking forward to…

I would have to say the Rabbitohs versus the Eels match. Personally, I hope both sides belt the living daylights out of each other and then play extra time for 10 minutes.

My tips for the week…

Canberra to beat the Roosters and the Rabbitohs to topple the Eels.

The final word…

Along with many others, I was not particularly impressed with Roosters coach Trent Robinson’s behaviour during and after the game as he watched his side lose a very exciting Finals game by one point.

The normally affable Robinson showed an angry, ‘salty’ side which we haven’t seen before.

From calling Panthers winger Josh Mansour a ‘soft ****’ while he lay injured on the ground with only seconds remaining in the match, to failing to give any sort of credit to the Panthers after the game, it was poor form in every sense of the word.

Just goes to show, it’s easy to be magnanimous when you’re constantly at the top and winning.

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