Wed, Mar 9, 9:57am by Kevin Pitstock
In 2010 the Panthers were one of the surprise packets of the competition, finishing in 2nd on the ladder. As they were building momentum towards the finals with 3 consecutive wins their season took an immediate turn for the worse when they crashed out of the finals with 2 losses in a row. The Knights season never really took off in 2010, it started with the Drug Scandal that is most likely going to end with Danny Wicks heading to the big house for some time. They were inconsistent throughout and didn’t ever find their way. Knights have the historical advantage in Penrith with 10 wins, 5 losses and amazingly 3 drawn games.
Penrith Panthers Preview
After Last year’s performance by Luke Walsh I’m surprised I didn’t see him in the off season playing striker for Chelsea. He had a significantly higher amount of tries from kicks than any other half back in the competition, and for most of the season they had scored more tries from kicks than running the ball in. This is a tactic that can easily be coached against, and if Rick Stone wants to prove himself as long term coach to the Knight’s new Billionaire owner he will make sure the Luke Walsh doesn’t score 1 off a kick. The most agile centre in the NRL Michael Jennings is out for this one, which means the backs have lost a lot of their strike power.
Newcastle Knights Preview
As I mentioned earlier the Knights have the statistical advantage over the Panthers with 10 wins in 18 matches, and only 5 losses to the Panthers at their own ground. Its hard to judge how the Knights will go with rookie half back Beau Henry making his debut, if he can fill half the void left by Andrew Johns then hopefully Mullen can fill the other half and presto! You have one full half. The Knights still have nothing like the playing roster of old, only boasting 1 constant rep player in Kurt Gidley. I’d like to see the Knights win this match, a lot of the outcome rests on the ability of the rookie half back.
Prediction and Odds
The Panthers will be too good for this Knights in this match. Rick Stone has not impressed as a coach at all and is my tip as the first to be sacked this year (paying $7.00 at Sportingbet Australia). The Panther’s lost a lot of pride when they were thumped 30-0 by the Eels in the trials and will look to restore it in the first game of the season. Panthers by 4.
This should come down to the wire, looking at goal kicking to be the difference in the 2. Once the odds are released I’ll be looking for Michael Gordon’s individual tally to exceed 7.5 (estimate) which will be at about $1.91 at Sportingbet Australia.
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