NRL Round 11 – Match 5 Preview: Penrith Panthers v Canterbury Bulldogs

On Monday night the closing match of Round 11 is sure to be a cracker as the team recently elevated into the number two spot on the ladder, the Panthers, host the Bulldogs at CUA Stadium.

Penrith have surprised many in the first half of this season, working their way up to the second spot behind the Dragons following last week’s 34 – 14 win ahead of the Sharks.

The Panthers will be fighting hard to maintain maybe their spot in the top two at best, but at least a top eight position and make the finals for the first time since 2004.

Some instrumental Penrith players are away on Origin duties, and they must play without forwards Petero Civoniceva, Trent Waterhouse and Luke Lewis.

But it is Canterbury who will feel the strain of missing Maroon and Blue players the most this match, the Bulldogs stripped of halfback Brett Kimmorley, hooker Michael Ennis and boom 19 year old Jamal Idris. These three have been the backbone of much of the Doggies success this year and without them Canterbury look a much weaker squad.

One player looking on the positive side of the missing Doggies is the recently re-signed Ben Barba, who finally gets a chance to shine filling in as halfback while Kimmorley does his bit for the Blues.

Missing players, the venue and the Panthers in the no. 2 spot has the Bulldogs at the long odds of $3.05 with while the big cats are the clear favourites currently at $1.38.

Fullback Lachlan Coote is in great form and with the fast paced Michael Jennings and Shane Elford both scoring multiple tries last week, Penrith have plenty of points in them.

Canterbury won the last time these two met, but that was nearly a year ago and the Bulldogs had the home ground advantage. This time round things look much more in favour of Penrith and we are sticking with the favourites for this one.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Panthers $1.38 – Bulldogs $3.05

Round 11 Panthers Team:

1. Lachlan Coote 2. Michael Gordon 3. Michael Jennings 4. Adrian Purtell 5. Shane Elford (c) 6. Travis Burns 7. Luke Walsh 8. Tim Grant 9. Kevin Kingston 10. Matthew Bell 11. Frank Pritchard 12. Gavin Cooper 13. Nathan Smith

Bench: 14. Masada Iosefa 15. Sam McKendry 16. Joseph Paulo 17. Wade Graham

Reserve: Frank Puletua

Round 11 Bulldogs Team:

1. Luke Pattern 2. Steve Turner 3. Josh Morris 4. Shane Neumann 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Blake Green 7. Ben Barba 8. Chris Armit 9. Dene Halatau 10. Michael Hodgson 11. Gary Warburton 12. Andrew Ryan 13. David Stagg

Bench: 14. Mickey Paea 15. Yileen Gordon 16. Jake Foster 17. Joel Romelo