The New Zealand Warriors will attempt to overcome the loss of Blake Green and confirm their spot in the top eight when they host the Penrith Panthers, who are looking to push top four claims. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 6pm (AEST).
After the Tigers victory over the Sea Eagles last night and taking into account the Warriors awful loss to the Bulldogs last week, the Auckland-based outfit are still not mathematically secure in the finals.
While it would take something of a miracle, a heavy loss to the Panthers tonight would leave the Tigers just two points behind and with an ever-narrowing for and against. The difference coming into the match between the two clubs is 43 points.
It’s not out of the question either. The Warriors have been known to put in some ordinary defensive efforts from time to time, but their consistency is hard to get a read on.
Taking on a severely understrength Panthers side earlier in the year due to Origin, they were belted 36-4.
With the Panthers losing last weekend and struggling to only just get over the Titans the week before that, this has all the makings of a similar scoreline. Cameron Ciraldo’s men simply must find their feet before the finals, and doing it in Auckland would be a good spot to start.
Penrith can fight their way into the top four yet, pending the form of the St George Illawarra Dragons and other clubs around them, so there is still plenty to play for from their perspective.
They are still without James Maloney though, so a lot of the pressure falls on Nathan Cleary, although with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak at fullback and Tyrone Peachey in the halves thanks to a reshuffle, things might start to flow in attack.
On the other side of the field, the Warriors are without Blake Green, which is a major problem. He has steadied the attack at times this year, so to lose him will put them under the pump, with Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck needing to produce.
At the end of the day, the style and tempo of this game will come down to the Warriors forward pack. If they play their up, in, rushing defensive style, Penrith will struggle. If the line speed is slow and sluggish, it could be a field day for the visitors.
As much as the Warriors should be pretty desperate to win here, the Panthers can ill-afford to lose again. They need to get a win under Cameron Ciraldo and a few days out of the Sydney spotlight should do the trick against a side without steadying hand Blake Green.
Panthers by 10.
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Article link: New Zealand Warriors vs Penrith Panthers: NRL highlights, live scores, blog. Written by Scott Pryde, on The Roar - Your Sports Opinion.
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