Wests Tigers v Panthers preview

Embed from Getty Images
Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers Sunday 2:00pm at CommBank Stadium, Parramatta

The Origin effected Penrith Panthers head out Parramatta stadium to face off against a desperate Wests Tigers team on Sunday afternoon. 

Wests Tigers seem to lurch from drama to drama this season and the club sit rock bottom after 18 rounds and face a daunting prospect to avoid their first spoon in their joint venture's history. 

New coach Brett Kimmorley has spun the wheel of unnecessary changes which has seen Adam Doueihi and Luke Brooks the halves pairing and one of Tigers best players in 2022 Jackson Hastings has moved into the lock position. 

Add to that facing the Panthers, who have only lost once this season, with some of their stars missing is a boost for them but not much. The Tigers were valiant against the Eels but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades in rugby league. 

There are also the whispers of Tim Sheens returning as Tigers coach so is a big game for interim coach Kimmorley as well. It all rests on the shoulders of the ever-reliable Luke Brooks turning up and that hasn't happened often in 2022. 

The visitors have been firing on all cylinders. Only one loss to local rivals Parramatta is their only blight but the Panthers have the sense of destiny around them securing back-to-back titles. It is impressive they are such heavy favourites despite missing much of their team through Origin. 

Coach Ivan Cleary believes in their talent enough to run back the halves pairing of Sean O'Sullivan and Kurt Falls who were good against the Bulldogs. Their systems are well drilled enough that there shouldn't be any lag for them. 

One big advantage for the Panthers is most of their pack being intact for this contest. James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota and Villiame Kikau all feature and the Tigers pack in comparison face a tough test to match them. 

On paper this game looks like a lay down misere for the Panthers and it should be. Rugby league as the old saying goes is a funny game and the Tigers showed twice in beating the Eels and Rabbitohs they can take a big scalp but this might need a sharper knife than what they have now. 

Last meeting: Round 24 2021 - Panthers 30 Wests Tigers 16

Who to watch: Panthers once again go with the halves pairing of Kurt Falls and Dolphins bound Sean O'Sullivan and the duo will look to repeat their good performance from the win against the Bulldogs earlier this season. Falls particularly was quite impressive in his debut and hopefully nothing crashes around him in this game. 

In his second third game back from injury, Adam Doueihi has been thrust into the halves pairing alongside the much-maligned Luke Brooks. This might be last chance saloon for Brooks after his torrid form this season and maybe the injection of Doueihi will help settle his game against one of the formidable teams in the competition. 

The favourite: Despite not having any of their Origin representatives, there is enough talent in that Panthers side to still take favouritism into the contest. 

My tip: Penrith's second string still have a great culture and structure and Ivan Cleary will have them primed for victory - particularly after the corresponding 2021 fixture. Panthers by 20.Penrith's second string still have a great culture and structure and Ivan Cleary will have them primed for victory - particularly after the corresponding 2021 fixture. Panthers by 20.

1. Daine Laurie 20. Junior Tupou 3. Starford To'a 21. Asu Kepaoa 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Fa'amanu Brown 10. Zane Musgrove 16. Luke Garner 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jackson Hastings 11. Justin Matamua 14. Fonua Pole 15. James Tamou 17. Jake Simpkin 18. Austin Dias

1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Robert Jennings 5. Charlie Staines 6. Kurt Falls 7. Sean O'Sullivan 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Chris Smith 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Soni Luke 15. Scott Sorensen 17. Jaeman Salmon 20. Lindsay Smith 18. Sunia Turuva

Referees: Peter Gough; Sideline Officials: Belinda Sharpe, Cameron Paddy; Video Referees: Gerard Sutton;

Follow all the action LIVE in our Match Centre