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 -

Full Time
Sea Eagles

Home Team

Sea Eagles

Scored 24 points
Panthers

Away Team

Panthers

Scored 28 points

Venue: Lottoland

Match broadcasters:

  • 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).

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Tyrone Peachey
  • Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
  • Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Moses Suli
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Waqa Blake
  • Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brian Kelly
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Dean Whare
  • Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Brad Parker
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan Walker
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
  • Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary

Forwards

  • Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Panthers is number 17 Moses Leota
  • Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Manase Fainu
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Sione Katoa
  • Prop for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Tamou
  • 2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Shaun Lane
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
  • Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
    Lock for Panthers is number 8 James Fisher-Harris

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
    Interchange for Panthers is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Trent Hodkinson
    Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Tyrone May
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Kelepi Tanginoa
    Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Trent Merrin
  • Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Frank Winterstein
    Interchange 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