The Panthers have again been hit hard by Origin call-ups but such is their depth that they still go in as favourites against the battling Bulldogs.
A number of Penrith players were rested from NSW Cup duties on Sunday so they'd be fresh for duty if called up to face the Bulldogs, including playmaker Sean O'Sullivan who performed admirably in the first three rounds of the season while Nathan Cleary recovered from shoulder surgery.
The Bulldogs showed plenty of good signs on an emotional day at their spiritual home Belmore but still came up short to remain at the bottom of the table.
When these sides clashed at CommBank Stadium in round five it was the Panthers cruising home 32-12 but without a posse of their big guns they could find the going much tougher this time around.
Sportsbet Betting preview: Panthers v Bulldogs
Panthers: Sean O'Sullivan did a fine job steering the ship early in the season and he'll take charge again in the No.7 with Kurt Falls set to make his NRL debut at five-eighth with Jarome Luai also on Origin duty. Robert Jennings and Charlie Staines join the backline for Stephen Crichton and Brian To'o while Chris Smith and Matt Eisenhuth come in for Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo in the pack. Hooker Api Koroisau was named among the Blues reserves but will be released to play for Penrith. Fullback Dylan Edwards and prop James Fisher-Harris will captain the side. No changes when the squad was finalised before kick-off.
Bulldogs: Corey Allen replaces Matt Dufty at fullback in a late change before kick-off. Luke Thompson was ruled out on Thursday suffering from delayed symptoms of concussion. He is replaced in the starting side by Ava Seumanufagai with Joe Stimson joining the bench after originally being left out on Tuesday. Tevita Pangai jnr remains sidelined after missing the Dragons game due to back spasms. Raymond Faitala-Mariner has been promoted to the starting side and Corey Waddell goes to the bench. Josh Addo-Carr could consider himself unlucky to miss Blues selection but his presence is a bonus for interim coach Mick Potter.
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan EdwardsFullback for Bulldogs is number 22 Corey Allan
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Taylan MayWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Jacob Kiraz
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack TagoCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Aaron Schoupp
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Robert JenningsCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Jake Averillo
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Charlie StainesWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Kurt FallsFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Matt Burton
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Sean O'SullivanHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle Flanagan
Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses LeotaProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Paul Vaughan
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Bulldogs is number 17 Ava Seumanufagai
2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Chris Smith2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Matthew EisenhuthLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Max King
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch KennyInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Zach Dockar-Clay
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott SorensenInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Corey Waddell
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer LeniuInterchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Chris Patolo
Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman SalmonInterchange for Bulldogs is number 21 Joe Stimson
Replacement for Panthers is number 21 Sunia TuruvaReplacement for Bulldogs is number 25 Kurtis Morrin
- Referee: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins
James Fisher-Harris v Paul Vaughan: The Panthers enforcer has the honour of captaining his side this week and he'll be ripping in from the opening whistle, setting the standards and driving the undermanned Panthers in their pursuit of another win. While the Panthers' backs take the plaudits for their flashy finishing, it's Fisher-Harris who lays the platform with his fearsome charges that have yielded 142 metres per game in 2022. Vaughan has played every game this season for the Bulldogs, averaging 126 running metres and 31 tackles per game, and he'll look to take the fight to the Panthers. Both men will be up for the contest and both love to get down in the trenches.
In the past four meetings between these clubs the Panthers have piled on 24 tries to the Bulldogs' three. The scoreline across the four matches was 132-16 to the Panthers.
Match: Panthers v Bulldogs
Round 13 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith