Start date: 17 Oct 2020 14:50
Location: Penrith Venue watch Panthers Stadium
Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs live FREE 2020
Starting 13 Edward Mansour Naden Crichton To’o Luai Cleary Tamou Koroisau Fisher-Harris Capewell Martin Yeo Interchanges May Leniu Leota Tetevano Reserves Kenny Whare Burton Hetherington
Unavailable Viliame Kikau (Suspended)
Penrith Panthers highlighted their premiership credentials thanks to seeing off reigning premiers Sydney Roosters by just a single point in week 1 of the finals as they made it 16 wins in a row and they now stand just one victory away from earning a Grand Final berth.
The minor premiers fought back from going 0-10 behind in that clash but they were ruthless when they did get onto the scoreboard as Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai pulled the strings for the competition’s second-best attack.
Head coach Ivan Cleary has been forced into a change for this preliminary final clash with South Sydney Rabbitohs with second-rower Vilame Kikau handed a one-match ban so Kurt Capewell is promoted to the run-on side with Spencer Leniu joining the bench.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Starting 13 Allan Johnston Graham Gagai Paulo Walker Reynolds Tatola Cook Burgess Su’A Sironen Murray Interchanges: Nicholls Knight Cartwright Koloamatangi Reserves: Marsters Sele Dargan Mago
Unavailable Tom Amone (Injured) Braidon Burns (Injured) James Roberts (Injured) Ethan Lowe (Injured) Latrell Mitchell (Injured)
South Sydney Rabbitohs’ red-hot attack proved to be the difference as they overturned a double-digit half-time deficit to overcome Parramatta Eels last week and advance to the preliminary finals.The Rabbitohs went eight points up early on in their clash last week but the Eels hit back to lead 18-8 at the break and it forced Souths to respond which they did convincingly as they ran out 24-38 victors. The Rabbits have now averaged 48 points per game in their last three encounters and it is clear they will rely on their attack once again if they are to overcome Penrith Panthers with head coach Wayne Bennett unsurprisingly sticking with the same 17 as last week.
Penrith Panthers have been the best side in the NRL all season and their 16-match winning streak is testament to that but it will mean very little to the minor premiers if they do not come away with the main prize. To do so, they will have to make it 17 in a row against a very dangerous South Sydney Rabbitohs outfit who have played some superb stuff in attack in their last three matches. Generally, defences tend to be on top in these matches in the finals but with the new rules implemented by the NRL following the restart, it could well be the side with the best attack that takes the spoils. The Panthers and Rabbitohs were two of the four highest-scoring teams during the regular season and in a game where both teams will believe they can come out on top it should be an open fast-flowing affair where at least 46 points should be scored. Nathan Cleary fought off a skin infection on his face and a six-hour stay in hospital to help Penrith to a gutsy 20-12 win over South Sydney.In Nepean hospital on Wednesday with cellulitis Cleary recovered in time to play with a swollen face and bandage on his upper nose.The Panthers half scored a late try and had a small hand in two others controlling the game perfectly as he also forced two line drop outs.It prompted Andrew Johns in commentary to label it the best match he had seen the No.7 play – not bad after being filled with antibiotics and undergoing scans the day before the game.Also missing winger Josh Mansour the Panthers have now won three of five since the competition’s restart and are among the genuine premiership threats.
They are temporarily first on the ladder and will stay there if both Parramatta and Newcastle lose this weekend.
Hit hard and high at the end of the first set of the game by Cameron Murray, Cleary recovered to put the ball on a dime for Viliame Kikau moments later.Just as he did last week against Melbourne Kikau got to the halfback’s bomb first and this time batted it back for Jarome Luai who found Brent Naden to score.Luai was again influential in Penrith’s second as he also stood up in the No.6 jersey.
As the Panthers continued to attack Souths’ right edge, he grubbered for a chasing Stephen Crichton to make it 8-0 at the break.
Clearly battered Cleary continued to be influential for Penrith in the second half.He threw the last ball for a Dylan Edwards try where the fullback did the majority of the work as he stepped and swatted away two defenders to make it 12-6.
And after booting a penalty goal himself Cleary then got the Panthers’ last when he fought off four defenders to dummy his way across the line.Souths meanwhile looked out of the contest for much of the game.They only got their first try after the break when Adam Reynolds went to the line and fired an inside ball for the flying Bayley Sironen to score his first points in the NRL.
They also spent part of the game with just 11 men with James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell both sin-binned for professional fouls late on.Hooker Damien Cook at one stage appeared to suffer a knee problem but he finished the game and was running fine by the end.
Alex Johnston claimed a consolation try with the Rabbitohs’ place in the top eight now under threat for the rest of the weekend.The Penrith Panthers lead the Rabbitohs 8-0 as both sides head to the sheds for half-time.It was a sloppy start for the Bunnies who produced the bulk of their 7 errors early in the half.Once South Sydney appeared to find their footing winger Alex Johnston had the perfect opportunity to set-up a try when he made a break down the wing.
Johnston had Adam Reynolds and Braidon Burns on the right side of him but botched the moment when the pass drifted forward.
Referee Gerard Sutton was in the perfect position to make the decision.The Penrith Panthers have raced out to the perfect start with an early try to Brent Naden.Naden was a late inclusion into Penrith’s side after Josh Mansour was ruled out.
Off the back of a Latrell Mitchell knock-on the Panthers punished the Bunnies the following set when Viliame Kikau proved too good in the air as he passed it off to his winger to score in the corner.At this stage it remains unclear as to whether Penrith coach Ivan Cleary will name Tyrone May in the side that takes on the Rabbitohs on Thursday night.May is free to play his first game since 2018 after he was put on the NRL’s no-fault stand down policy and then hit a further suspension due to his part in a sex tape scandal.May could be a late inclusion into Cleary’s squad after making the cut from 21 down to 19.
When asked about the 24-year-old’s possible selection on Wednesday Cleary refused to give any indication as to whether or not he might suit up.Nathan Cleary was the star but Penrith are red hot right now. They go to the top of the NRL ladder and may be the ones to challenge the might of the Roosters when the whips are cracking in October.Souths continue their underwhelming season. Their only wins have been against the Warriors Titans and Sharks. They’re not the scalps of a genuine premiership contender.