Penrith Panthers: The run home...

A season which has promised so much for the Panthers could be ending in doom and gloom, much the way it began. It seems to have come full circle since the opening rounds when coach Matthew Elliott fought off the pundits who figured he would be the first coach sacked in 2009.

His young players fought hard and currently deserve to be sitting inside the eight with the fifth best attack in the NRL, given that attack the Panthers will always be dangerous, but the casualty ward has to be taking its toll and it seems without the likes of Petero Civoniceva, Frank Pritchard, Luke Lewis and Lachlan Coote that it's only a matter of time before their season goes pear shaped.

Pritchard and Lewis will be back in round 22, Civoniceva round 24, but Coote who is the very best of their youngsters is gone for the season and leaves a hole in the side. No matter how good Jarrod Sammut can be, he lacks the consistency of Coote.

The Run home: Cowboys (A), Warriors (H), Dragons (H), Broncos (A), Rabbitohs (H), Eels (A), Knights (A)

There simply isn’t an easy match for the Panthers in the run home, but if they are to have a chance when their senior players return, they have to jag a win without them and the ideal time to do that is against a Warriors side who have the second worst attack in the NRL. Taking them on at CUA Stadium can only help the Panthers' cause. Especially heading into a match with the Dragons who they haven’t beaten in their last five encounters.

Players to Watch:
Michael Jennings
– Anyone who knows league knows what a freakish talent Jennings is. A speed machine who can produce anything in attack and create a try out of nothing. His improved strength this year helped him into Origin, but the injuries that have nagged him need to be gone for the Panthers to have a chance.

His 13 line breaks and 11 tries this year make him Penrith’s go to man.

Jarrod Sammut – Can do anything, anytime, anywhere (even dominate union matches for Malta) and has put his energy into conjuring miracles for the Panthers in 2009. The good news is, he's been coming up trumps. The chip kick is a feature of his game and if it comes off he has any number of outside men like Jennings and Michael Gordon to run onto a pass and score four pointers.

Sammut is creativity at its best.

Predicted finish:
10th