Panthers v Raiders: RCG on bench; Sezer's return forces reshuffle

The Panthers managed to snap a two-game losing streak in dramatic fashion after running down the hapless Sea Eagles at Lottoland last start, while the Raiders were schooled by the Storm at AAMI Park.

Both sides love to attack, but defence, neither team's strong point, will win this game.

Match: Panthers vs Raiders

Round 21 -

Full Time
Panthers

Home Team

Panthers

Scored 40 points
Raiders

Away Team

Raiders

Scored 31 points

Venue: Panthers Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Fox League
  • LIVE PASS

Key match-up: James Maloney v Blake Austin. Canberra pivot Austin is off to Warrington at the end of the season, but he will be desperate to outplay the NSW Blues' five-eighth. Maloney's form has been scratchy recently - he needs to lift with the semi-finals looming

For the Panthers to win: Improve their collective attitude in defence. Down 24-6, they got out of jail late in a scarcely believable triumph against Manly. Canberra have the ability to post rapid points if they seize momentum, which no doubt will have been a focus for Anthony Griffin and his coaching staff this week. 

For the Raiders to win: Inject Jordan Rapana into the contest as often as possible. The Kiwi international looks dangerous every time he touches the ball, but isn't utilised enough by the green machine. Josh Hodgson also needs to dominate opposing hooker Sione Katoa.

Panthers Stat Attack: Maloney isn't renowned for his defence, with 125 missed tackles telling the story. His team do boast the best kick conversion percentage (86), fractionally ahead of the Storm (85).

Raiders Stat Attack: Ricky Stuart's men are the kings out of dummy half, chalking up 280 runs, equal top with the Bulldogs. There is no doubt Hodgson offers poise and quality out of dummy half, while his teammates playing in the back-line aren't afraid for tough metres up the middle. Discipline has been a constant issue, with 181 penalties conceded the most in the competition.

And another thing: The two clubs developed a fierce rivalry in the early 90s, splitting grand final wins at the Sydney Football Stadium. Canberra, with now coach Ricky Stuart calling the shots at halfback, won 18-14 in 1990 before Greg Alexander inspired Penrith to lift the silverware 12 months later at the same venue. Earlier this year, the Panthers won a high quality encounter at GIO Stadium, 23-22 thanks to a late field goal from Nathan Cleary.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Tyrone Peachey
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Nick Cotric
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 Brad Abbey
  • Centre for Panthers is number 3 Waqa Blake
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Blake Austin
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Dean Whare
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Joseph Leilua
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Aidan Sezer
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
    Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams

Forwards

  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
    Prop for Raiders is number 8 Iosia Soliola
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Sione Katoa
    Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
  • Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Tamou
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Junior Paulo
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Joseph Tapine
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Isaah Yeo
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 James Fisher-Harris
    Lock for Raiders is number 13 Josh Papalii

Interchange

  • Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Tyrone May
    Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Dunamis Lui
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Trent Merrin
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Shannon Boyd
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Corey Harawira-Naera
    Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Siliva Havili
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Luke Bateman

Using the NRL app? See the round 21 team lists here

Panthers: In the only change from last week prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard (jaw) is a late inclusion on the interchange bench in place of Jack Hetherington. Kaide Ellis was cut an hour before kick-off.

Raiders: The Raiders are 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Aidan Sezer (hamstring) returns in the halves, allowing Blake Austin to replace Elliott Whitehead in the centres. Whitehead returns to the second row, bumping Sia Soliola to prop and Luke Bateman to the bench. Brad Abbey has been shifted from fullback to wing with Nick Cotric getting a run at the back. Shannon Boyd (calf) also returns on the bench, while Jack Murchie and Liam Knight were cut an hour before kick-off.

Head-to-head: Played 73; Panthers 37 wins, Raiders 35 wins, 1 draw
Previous result: Panthers won 23-22 at GIO Stadium in round 14
Points per game: Panthers 21.6; Raiders 24.1
Points conceded per game: Panthers 18.0; Raiders 22.8
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League

Petero Civoniceva's prediction: I like the Panthers to win this. They showed a bit of ticker last week in a game that looked gone and have more incentive that the Raiders. If the Panthers are going to be a chance in the finals they need to start their push now. They've been disappointing over the last couple of months after showing so much potential and promise earlier on. They should get some players back from injury and that'll be a big boost at this end of the season.

Tip: Panthers by 12