ISP Match Preview: Mounties v Panthers

Penrith Panthers v Mounties
Carrington Park, Saturday 30 April
12:40pm
LIVE coverage on Fox Sports channel 501

The Panthers and Mounties travel to Bathurst this weekend as part of an annual trip that has seen the NRL and Intrust Super Premiership NSW sides head over the Blue Mountains for the last two seasons.

The red-hot Mounties, who sit atop the Intrust Super Premiership NSW table and remain favourites for the title, are hard to look past as more likely winners on Saturday – although their self-destruction in the second-half against the Sea Eagles was a dangerous sign in Round 7.

The competition’s golden boys let in six unanswered tries in the final 25 minutes – almost conceding a remarkable comeback at home – but have since had time to recuperate with a Round 8 bye. Meanwhile, Penrith were beaten by Wyong in difficult conditions at Morry Breen Oval but look to regain some of their experienced with players returning from a significant injury toll.

Ins and Outs:
The Panthers welcome back winger Zac McKay – who spent 80 minutes on the bench in Round 7 – as well as Ben Garcia and Wellington Albert on the bench. Rodney Coates and Jeremy Latimore are both out of the side for the clash with Mounties.

For the visitors, Sisa Waqa returns in the centres after being a late omission against Manly and Scott Sorensen is named on the bench, while the NRL-bound Clay Priest and Byron Fruean are both out of the team.

Key match-up:
Mounties ooze with class across the park, but the Panthers’ strength this year has been in their back line – particularly on their left edge with Josh Hall and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak. They will have to shut down Waqa and leading tryscorer Kato Ottio to help their team to victory on Saturday; it’s a significant task, but one they are capable of.

This article first appeared on NSWRL.com.au