Punters can expect a highly entertaining game in Bathurst this weekend.
The Panthers are taking one of their home games out to Carrington Park which has been an annual event for them since 2014.
Suddenly, Penrith is in form and will be full of confidence going into this having thrashed the Bulldogs 38-nil at ANZ Stadium last week to register a hat-trick of wins.
Canberra’s confidence on the other hand wouldn’t be as high as they went down 21-20 to Manly in Golden Point at Lottoland after staging a big second half fight back.
After winning just two of their first nine games, Penrith has now notched three straight wins and are just one win outside the top eight.
Their resurgence started by producing a mammoth second half comeback against the Warriors before running down the Knights and then handling the Bulldogs.
In all three of those wins they scored at least 30 points which is the case for their two wins from earlier in the season.
Last week’s effort against the Bulldogs could be a statement from Anthony Griffin’s men that they’ve turned the tide because their usual slow beginning wasn’t there – they led 14-nil at the break.
It seems as though Canberra are missing something from their game.
They largely have the same side that went all the way to the Prelim Final last season but Ricky Stuart’s men definitely aren’t the same team from 2016.
Canberra scored the most points of any side last season and that is the case again so far this campaign, however, while they’ve put themselves in positions to win matches they have found themselves falling short on a number of occasions.
Of their seven losses, five of them have been by six points or less and that includes two Golden Point losses to the Sea Eagles and another to the Cowboys.
Their cause for this hasn’t been helped with Shannon Boyd out for an extended period while Dunamis Lui is also gone for the season.
CANBERRA has won four of the past five meetings.
They last met in the semis last season which saw Canberra win 22-12 and knock Penrith out of the title race, however, earlier in the season it was the Panthers that got the two points. That game was played at Carrington Park where a Peter Wallace field goal was all that separated the two teams at the finish.
That is the only match Canberra has played at Carrington Park while the Panthers have won twice at the venue and lost their opening match there in 2014 against the Sharks.
Penrith ($1.86 @ Unibet) are starting to find form and we are leaning towards them.
They didn’t seem to miss Bryce Cartwright, who is out injured, or Peter Wallace and their forwards monstered the Bulldogs pack which is no mean feat in itself. Penrith has the fourth most run metres in the NRL which means Nathan Cleary and captain Matt Moylan should have enough time and space to create havoc for the Raiders.
Canberra’s success will depend on stopping any second-phase play or line breaks and it must be noted that only the Dragons have conceded less missed tackles than the Green Machine so far in 2017.
That said we still think Penrith’s form is enough to warrant selection here simply because Canberra haven’t really clicked just yet.
JORDAN RAPANA FIRST TRYSCORER – has five tries in his past three matches