This week I’d like to take a look at five danger games for the Panthers this season. I wanted to wait a few rounds so I could get a better idea of which opponents may cause Penrith the most problems.
Had I written this before Round 1, the list would’ve been a whole lot different.
Round 8: Thursday, April 20 – Panthers v Rabbitohs – Accor Stadium
My worry here is that despite the Panthers’ crushing dominance over the Bunnies over the last three years, the Rabbitohs always give Penrith trouble and put quite simply, are due for a win.
Away from home will also make it a bit more problematic for the Panthers.
Round 10: Saturday, May 6 – Panthers v Warriors – Suncorp Stadium
Watching the Warriors play is like fair-dinkum watching Penrith play.
There’s no doubt that former Panthers assistant coach and current Warriors coach Andrew Webster has used Penrith as a blue print on how he wants his team to play.
Can the Panthers beat themselves?
Round 12: Thursday, May 18 – Panthers v Broncos – Suncorp Stadium
Undefeated and playing some good attacking footy, the Broncos have shown that their first-round win against the Premiers was no fluke.
Over the years Brisbane have always been able to match the Panthers for large periods of time but this year, they’re playing great football for the whole game. They also have some very special players to boot.
Round 20: Sunday, July 16 – Panthers v Dolphins – Moreton Daily Stadium
What looked like a slam-dunk victory before the season started has turned into a ‘real danger game’ not just for Penrith but for all NRL teams.
After three rounds the team looks like it could make the Top 8. At full-strength this one will be tough to win.
The Dolphins forwards are making plenty of metres and their backline contains some serious match-winners!
Round 21: Sunday, July 23 – Panthers v Bulldogs – BlueBet Stadium
There’s bound to be plenty of feeling in this one and not just from the fans.
With several Panthers players and Cameron Ciraldo now at the Dogs, I expect new Top Dog Viliame Kikau to try and stamp his authority by rattling the Panthers forwards with some big runs and huge defensive hits, while coach Ciraldo will want to show Ivan Cleary that the apprentice has now become the master.
Peter Lang is an experienced sports writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades.