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Stat Attack: Panthers on prowl to bury Sharks hoodoo

Two wins in nine years.

It doesn’t sound convincing but the Panthers believe the gap is closing between their best and worst performances against bogey side Cronulla.

The Panthers' four-year drought against the 2016 premiers is the longest standing of all 15 clubs they've faced over the past five seasons with only their win-loss record against the Storm painting an even uglier picture.

Penrith’s last victory over Cronulla was four years ago and only Waqa Blake, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Isaah Yeo are still around to tell the tale.

Since then they’ve suffered six straight defeats by margins of between one and 26.

Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary is yet to beat the Sharks in three appearances since making his NRL debut in 2016.

Cleary is still haunted by a missed field goal on the siren in last year’s 21-20 semi-final loss to Cronulla.

"It still hurts a little bit but I tried to forget about that as quickly as I can," Cleary said.

"It's still there, to come back in that game after we started and put ourselves in a position to win it was crazy.

"Hopefully we can turn it around and get a win for the first time in my career. There's probably no better week to do it."

Panthers five-eighth James Maloney struggled with results against his former club while at the Roosters and that notion has continued since leaving the Sharks for the Panthers in 2018.

"They grind you out and when you've got blokes like Gallen and Fifita it's always a tough brand of footy," Maloney said.

Sharks v Panthers - Round 6

"They're very hard to score points against and when I was there that was what we prided ourselves on, even when we lost it wasn't by huge margins.

"That's what makes good sides. It's hard when you didn't play in the years beforehand to link the record books but I don't think we're far off, but we've got to play some good footy to match them."

The Sharks will be without former Panthers Matt Moylan and Wade Graham due to injury, while Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen are playing in pain.

Josh Mansour believes the desperation to bounce back after last week's loss to the Titans presents the best opportunity to beat them.

"The Sharks have always been our bogey side and I don't think there's any better way than to play them this week after our performance against the Titans," Mansour said.

"We were definitely not up to standards last week and we're keen to make amends. It's a big opportunity we have and there's no better way than on their home ground."

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