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The Panthers last year surged to their first premiership since 1991 and the premiers host last year's surprise packets Manly in a huge opening to the 2022 Telstra Premiership season. 

Penrith's dominance last year was in no small part to the superb form of halfback Nathan Cleary, who was always touch-and-go for round one after off season shoulder surgery but has now been ruled out for a few weeks in a huge blow to Penrith's hopes of starting the season with a bang. 

Manly's own dominance was built off the back of a stunning individual season from Dally M medal winner Tom Trbojevic, who has already been setting up tries for fun through the trials and is out to not just match but improve on an individual season already considered one of the best ever. 

Sportsbet Betting preview: Panthers v Sea Eagles

The rundown

Team news

Panthers: No late changes expected for the defending premiers. With Cleary out, local junior Sean O'Sullivan will make his first NRL appearance for the club. With Paul Momirovski and Matt Burton gone, Stephen Crichton returns to the centres alongside rookie Izack Tago and Charlie Staines is back on the wing. 

Robert Jennings, J'maine Hopgood, Taylan May, Kurt Falls and Soni Luke were omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. 

Sea Eagles: Haumole Olakau'atu has surprisingly been named to make an early return from an elbow injury with Ethan Bullemor his second-row partner with Josh Schuster currently injured. Exciting rookie Tolutau Koula makes his debut off the bench with Dylan Walker absent. Toff Sipley starts alongside Marty Taupau in the front row.

Andrew Davey, James Roumanos, Jorge Taufua, Alec Tuitavake and Kaeo Weekes were cut from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie Staines
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
  • Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Morgan Harper
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards

  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Toafofoa Sipley
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
  • Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Haumole Olakau'atu
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Ethan Bullemor
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange

  • Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Tolutau Koula
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Karl Lawton
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Sean Keppie
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 20 Jaeman Salmon
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka

Reserves

  • Replacement for Panthers is number 18 Chris Smith
    Replacement for Sea Eagles is number 18 Morgan Boyle

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

Isaah Yeo v Jake Trbojevic: For all the class and flash and skill of the playmakers and backs, the two workhorse Origin rep locks will have a massive say in this contest. Trbojevic somehow manages to be underrated despite being a walk-up start for NSW, with his intelligent ball distribution, stop-em-and-drop-em defence and lightning fast play-the-ball often overlooked in Manly's success. Yeo meanwhile has surpassed Trbojevic into the sky blue No.13 jersey after two humongous years for the Panthers since shifting from an edge to the middle. 

Stat attack

These two teams didn't quite score the most points of 2021 but they were the two hardest to tackle, ranking first and second in the NRL for tackle busts through the regular season. Penrith topped the league with 874 led by Brian To'o's 120 while Manly's 857 was next-best with Tom Trbojevic (105) their biggest contributor.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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