Gower return boosts Panthers

Penrith have been boosted by the return of skipper Craig Gower for their vital clash with Cronulla at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers halfback was expected to miss at least another week due to a knee injury he sustained in the first State of Origin last month, but was today ruled fit to play against the Sharks.

Penrith will be trying to avoid their third consecutive loss in the game after being beaten by St George-Illawarra and Manly in consecutive rounds.

The Panthers are still without five-eighth Preston Campbell and star centre Ryan Girdler, but coach John Lang has opted to move winger Amos Roberts to five-eighth.

The Panthers halfback crisis in recent weeks has forced Lang to use several inexperienced players in the halves, but Gower?s return gives the side more stability.

The Panthers also welcome back Origin stars Luke Lewis, Luke Rooney, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Ross and Rhys Wesser.

Panthers: 1. Rhys Wesser, 2. Brett Howland, 3. Luke Lewis, 4. Paul Whatuira, 5. Luke Rooney, 6. Amos Roberts, 7. Craig Gower (c), 8. Joel Clinton, 9. Luke Priddis, 10. Martin Lang, 11. Joe Galuvao, 12. Tony Puletua, 13. Trent Waterhouse, 14. Ben Ross, 15. Frank Pritchard, 16. Shane Rodney, 17. Luke Swain