Panthers v Knights preview

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Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights Sunday 4:05pm at Panthers Stadium

Let's be honest, not many people are going to be reading this preview.

Yep, it's the last of 192 regular season NRL matches and nope, it doesn't mean much at all.

Both sides are out of finals contention, neither have lived up to fairly reasonable expectations for this season and in Newcastle's case, lost their coach late in the season - just like the Panthers did in 2018.

While eight other sides' sights will already be on finals - and another six looking ahead to 2020, these two sides will play out what will hopefully be an entertaining, free-flowing game with very little riding on the result.

Penrith will be farewelling James Maloney, who jets off to England during the off-season, and this week they welcome back Jarome Luai - he joins the bench with Sione Katoa out and Wayde Egan named at hooker.

Newcastle bring back Kurt Mann on the bench for their final hit-out of 2019, with the only other change being Lachlan Fitzgibbon reinstated to the starting back-row, Aidan Guerra dropping back to the bench.

Last meeting: Round 2 2019 - Knights 14 Panthers 16

Who to watch: Jimmy. James Maloney has linked up with French outfit Catalans ahead of the 2020 Super League season - his career to date has taken him from Melbourne to Auckland and then into Sydney for both the Roosters and Sharks before landing at Penrith last season. His form has faded in and out this season, but he'll be keen to send out his NRL days with a stand-out performance.

Mitch Pearce has been the subject of plenty of chatter in the dying weeks of Newcastle's season, with rumour suggesting his relationship with Nathan Brown went south as the coach was eventually sent packing in recent weeks. He remains in the red and blue in 2020 and will want to show he's the right man to lead the Knights forward into the next decade.

The favourite: Penrith's home ground advantage gives them the edge with the punters here.

My tip: Penrith at home for mine. Panthers by 6.


1. Dylan Edwards 2. Stephen Crichton 3. Dean Whare 14. Jarome Luai 5. Brian To'o 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Wayde Egan 10. Moses Leota 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. James Fisher-Harris 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Billy Burns 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 18. Sione Katoa

1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Bradman Best 3. Sione Mata'utia 4. Hymel Hunt 21. Starford Toa 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Connor Watson 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 16. Josh King 14. Kurt Mann 15. Herman Ese'ese 17. Aidan Guerra 18. Jacob Saifiti


Referees: Adam Gee, Jon Stone; Sideline Officials: Nick Morel, Phil Henderson; Video Referees: Ashley Klein, Bryan Norrie;



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