Can the desperate Panthers get their campaign back on track with a trip to Brisbane?
One of the teams highly fancied to go all the way at the start of the season, Penrith is now facing five straight losses if they can’t turn things around at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
They go into this match having lost 18-12 to Parramatta.
Brisbane, on the other hand, are shooting for four straight wins having outstayed the Rabbitohs 25-24 at ANZ Stadium albeit in controversial circumstances.
BRISBANE has been giving their rivals’ defence plenty to worry about in recent weeks.
The Broncos has been averaging 27 points per game during their winning hat-trick while their ability to grind out the close games has improved dramatically in the past month.
One criticism of Wayne Bennett’s side late last year and early this season is their inability to win close contests, however, they beat Canberra by one point then lost to the Bulldogs by three before beating Gold Coast and Souths by an average of 1.5 points in the past fortnight.
Penrith’s season is going from bad to worse.
Recent losses to Melbourne, Souths, Cronulla and Parramatta have put Anthony Griffin’s side behind the eight-ball. They have been outscored 95-47 in the past month and continue to do the basics all wrong.
Last week’s effort against Parra in the opening few minutes told the tale for them. Two errors put them on the back foot and gave the Eels possession deep into their own territory. It didn’t take long for them to break and before you knew it, they were chasing the game.
Not many teams can lay claim to having the wood on Brisbane, however, Penrith can.
The Mountain Men have won four of the past contests between the sides including their last visit to Suncorp Stadium. That was back in Round 20 last year, when Penrith was making a big charge towards the finals and ran out 31-12 winners.
Penrith’s overall record at Suncorp isn’t as impressive though with just four wins at the venue since 2003.
You cannot go past the Broncos here.
Even though they are short ($1.48 @ Unibet) they look a far safer investment than the Panthers given both sides run of form lately.
Penrith has to win a game shortly but that will only happen when they do the little things right. A trip to Suncorp against a rampaging Broncos outfit might just scare them straight. On that basis we are tempted to take them at the Line (+7.5) which is paying $1.87 at Ladbrokes.
There will be plenty of value in other markets and we think Broncos to Score First Try is worth a look at, considering they have done so in seven of the first eight rounds while Penrith has been notoriously slow to start lately.
BRISBANE TO SCORE FIRST TRY
PENRITH +7.5 LINE