Sea Eagles v Panthers: Taupau and Harawira-Naera to bench
It's hard to remember the last time two teams squared off after both gave up at least 50 points the previous week.
The Sea Eagles were blown off the park by a red-hot Roosters in round 19 and had conceded 34 by half-time, while Brisbane posted a half-century in a big win over the Panthers.
Manly are out of finals contention and have little left to play for other than pride, but it's a crucial game for Penrith.
The Panthers seemed a lock for a top-four spot a month or so ago. But they have lost four of their past five games and now simply have to worry about staying in the top eight, especially with the Tigers charging home fast.
Match: Sea Eagles v Panthers
Round 20 -
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Key match-up: This is a huge test for Nathan Cleary to prove he isn't suffering an Origin hangover. Cleary and James Maloney both failed to fire against the Broncos and need to atone with a dominant display. Maloney has been through it before and usually knows when it's time to lift. But hitting the heights in the Origin arena and returning to club footy is a new experience for Cleary and it'll be interesting to see what he produces on Saturday against Daly Cherry-Evans.
For the Sea Eagles to win: Manly upset the Panthers 18-10 a month ago at Penrith so it's not like they don't know how to beat them. They have to chuck out last week's embarrassing loss and come out with the attitude to repay their fans with an effort they can be proud of.
For the Panthers to win: Penrith are coming off their leanest trot of the 2018 season and have dropped from first to sixth in a three-way tie with Brisbane and the Warriors as injuries and representative fatigue have taken their toll. They ploughed through the first half of the season despite a severe injury toll and need to rediscover their mojo to get their top-four campaign back on track.
Sea Eagles Stat Attack: Second-rower Shaun Lane is Manly's top tryscorer this season, and is in hot try-scoring form at home where he's crossed five times in his past four games at Lottoland.
Panthers Stat Attack: Penrith have won six of their past eight against Manly and will be out to make it seven from nine in what will be Dean Whare's 100th game for the club (he'd previously played 25 for the Sea Eagles).
Match: Sea Eagles v Panthers
Round 20 -
Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom TrbojevicFullback for Panthers is number 1 Tyrone Peachey
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge TaufuaWinger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Moses SuliCentre for Panthers is number 3 Waqa Blake
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brian KellyCentre for Panthers is number 4 Dean Whare
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Brad ParkerWinger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan WalkerFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-EvansHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Panthers is number 17 Moses Leota
Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Manase FainuHooker for Panthers is number 9 Sione Katoa
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela PasekaProp for Panthers is number 10 James Tamou
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Shaun Lane2nd Row for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake TrbojevicLock for Panthers is number 8 James Fisher-Harris
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin TaupauInterchange for Panthers is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Trent HodkinsonInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Tyrone May
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Kelepi TanginoaInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Trent Merrin
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Frank WintersteinInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Jack Hetherington
Sea Eagles: Coach Trent Barrett has made a surprise move, shifting Martin Taupau to the bench in favour of Taniela Paseka. The rest of his 17-man squad is intact. Dylan Walker returns at five-eighth and Jorge Taufua on the wing. Shaun Lane is back in the run-on side with Frank Winterstein on the bench. Matt Wright and Jack Gosiewski were cut from the reserves and hour before kick-off.
Panthers: Coach Anthony Griffin has also made some changes, with Moses Leota to start at prop. James Fisher-Harris shifts to lock and Isaah Yeo moves to the back-row. Corey Harawirs-Naera will start on the bench. Kaide Ellis and Christian Crichton were the last reserves cut an hour from kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 86; Sea Eagles 51 wins, Panthers 34 wins, 1 draw
Previous result: Sea Eagles won 18-10 at Panthers Stadium in round 16
Points per game: Sea Eagles 19.7; Panthers 21.2
Points conceded per game: Sea Eagles 24.7; Panthers 17.7
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Sea Eagles were very disappointing against the Roosters and it would have to go down as their worst performance of the year. That score could've been anything if the Roosters hadn't eased their foot off the pedal. The Panthers were awful against Brisbane but they're not a team to put in a similar effort two weeks in a row. We're coming into the big games of the year and the Panthers have more to play for.
Tip: Panthers by 8