We’ve all heard about the different scenarios and equations that could play out this weekend, but let’s focus purely on Penrith’s clash with Manly at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night, because regardless of how things play out, the Panthers need to desperately avoid finishing the regular season with back to back losses.
After seven straight wins, the side was brought back to Earth with a thud last Sunday afternoon, out-muscled by a Dragons side that starved them of possession at crucial stages and aimed up in defence on their line. Penrith’s defence meanwhile left plenty to be desired and while they scrambled well at times the 46 missed tackles on the stat sheet were a major concern.
With both Penrith and Manly sitting on 30 competition points, Saturday’s game couldn’t be more important. The Sea Eagles clearly have the advantage, playing at the formidable Brookvale Oval and gaining some much-needed confidence out of a late golden point win over the Warriors in New Zealand on Sunday.
Both sides will be treating this like a Grand Final, knowing that their September dreams are on the line, but for Penrith proving their critics wrong is very much part of the storyline of this game. Plenty have said their seven match winning streak was soft given the opposition they faced, but beating the Sea Eagles in such an important game in the final round of the competition would surely silence some of those doubters.
I haven’t thought much of Manly over the past month but Trent Barrett will be telling his troops to put the past in the…
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