The Front Row - Volume 1 Issue 23
26 hours ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
Canterbury-Bankstown look to end a forgettable 2020 on a high, clashing with Minor Premiers Penrith, who have a premiership in their sights, at ANZ Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Let's call this the Trent Barrett Cup, as the Panthers assistant coach continues his preparations to take over at Belmore in 2021.
The Bulldogs head into this clash on the back of their best performance of the season, knocking off South Sydney in the upset of the season. Racking up a 20-0 lead by the half-hour mark, they showed some rare composure to hold on to defeat the Rabbitohs 26-16.
Coach Steve Georgallis has named an almost unchanged side for this week, with the only change to be confirmed after Tim Lafai copped a one match suspension on Tuesday night. Club stalwart Aidan Tolman plays his final final game for the club.
The Panthers continue their careful preparation for the finals, with Dylan Edwards, Stephen Crichton and Viliame Kikau all being rested for this week.
James Tamou, Api Koroisau and Zane Tetevano come back into the side after missing last week's professional win over the Cowboys. Daine Laurie, Matt Burton and Zane Tetevano also come into the Panthers side.
Penrith will be looking to fine tune their attack and defence in the lead in to the finals series, whilst the Bulldogs will know if they have to get a win or not to avoid the wooden spoon by the time 3pm Saturday comes around.
Last meeting: Round 20 2019 - Bulldogs 16 Panthers 8
Who to watch: Luke Thompson had his first game at prop for the Bulldogs last week, and showed plenty of grunt. With 13 runs, 132 metres, and 70 post-contact metres in his 55 minutes on the field, another week playing in his preferred position will do him the world of good, as he finds his feet in the NRL.
Panthers winger Brian To'o has scored a try in 3 of the last 4 games, and he'll look to add to that tally this week, his battle with Jayden Okunbor sure to be an intriguing one.
The favourite: Penrith are top of the pile, the Bulldogs are clinging for dear life in second last.
My tip: These final round matches always throw up something strange, however I think the Bulldogs used up their "massive upset" ticket on the Souths game last week. I expect a professional 80 minute performance from a Penrith side with bigger fish to fry in 2020. Penrith by 18.
1. Will Hopoate 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Reimis Smith 23. Kerrod Holland 5. Jayden Okunbor 20. Jack Cogger 14. Brandon Wakeham 17. Sauaso Sue 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Luke Thompson 11. Chris Smith 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Josh Jackson 15. Renouf To'omaga 16. Sione Katoa 19. Dean Britt 21. Tuipulotu Katoa
1. Daine Laurie 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone May 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Matt Burton 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Zane Tetevano
Referees: Henry Perenara; Sideline Officials: Jon Stone, Gavin Badger; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy;