Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Penrith will re-visit a failed experiment this weekend when Ryan Girdler plays five-eighth against North Queensland at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Girdler has moved from the centres to cover the pivot role, with regular five-eighth Preston Campbell switching to halfback in place of Craig Gower, who is on Origin duty.
Girdler moved to five-eighth some time ago but was eventually moved back to the centres after the experiment was all but declared a disaster.
Origin duties to some of the club?s top players has forced coach John Lang to completely re-shuffle the Panthers? backline for Saturday night?s clash.
Amos Roberts will move to fullback to cover Rhys Wesser, who will make his Origin debut for Queensland next Wednesday night, while Trent Clayton comes into the top side to play on the wing. Paul Whatuira and Danny Galea are in the centres.
It?s the first time in two years Lang has been forced to make wholesale changes to his top side, with Penrith gaining very little representative selections last year ? despite being the dominant team throughout the season.
This weekend?s game will see Penrith with more first grade players out since the start of their 2003 premiership campaign.
Girdler, who will retire at the completion of the 2004 National Rugby League season, will also skipper the side, who when visiting Townsville last year came away with two points thanks to a golden point victory.
Panthers: 1. Amos Roberts, 2. Trent Clayton, 3. Paul Whatuira, 4. Danny Galea, 5. Luke Rooney, 6. Ryan Girdler (c), 7. Preston Campbell, 8. Joel Clinton, 9. Luke Priddis, 10. Martin Lang, 11. Joe Galuvao, 12. Tony Puletua, 13. Shane Rodney. Interchange: 14. Frank Puletua, 15. Jason Wrigley, 16. Luke Swain, 17. Frank Pritchard