Is the sequel going to be as good as the original?
Just seven games ago these two sides produced one of the most memorable games of the season at Pepper Stadium and who is to say it won’t happen again here.
Down 28-6 at the break, Penrith were starting down the barrel of a big defeat but produced a mammoth comeback to score 30 unanswered points in the second half to eventually seal the win 36-28.
The win kicked off a mini-revival for the Panthers who went on to win four straight games, however, their charge towards the finals has been spluttering over the past few weeks.
They head into the game off the back of a tough 16-8 win over Manly last week which leaves them two wins outside the top eight.
New Zealand are in a similar position to the Panthers in that they have to keep on winning if they are to play footy in September. Sitting four points behind Parramatta and Stgeorge Illawarra, New Zealand are coming into this off the bye but prior to that had dropped a heartbreaker 26-22 to Manly over in Perth.
PENRITH did what many people expected last week and that was to bounce back.
They were dreadful against the bunnies a few weeks back and then had plenty of favours go their way in securing the win over Manly.
The big concern for us is that they were beneficiaries of a lopsided penalty count (12-4), had 59 tackles inside the Sea Eagles’ 20 metre zone and had seven more sets than their opponents but could only win by eight points.
Make no mistake, the pressure applied by the halves in Matt Moylan and Nathan Cleary kept Manly pinned inside their own half for most of the game but their lack of execution in attack has been alarming.
They are averaging just 11.33ppg in their past three matches.
PLAYING FOR 80 MINUTES
NEW ZEALAND’s biggest issue this season has been playing for the full 80 minutes.
They should be sitting inside the top eight because on paper they are talented enough, however, they have let their good work slip in matches throughout 2017 and that could ultimately come back to bite them.
The Panthers game earlier in the year is one and last start’s match against Manly was another. In the latter, they raced out to a 16-nil lead inside 17 minutes but then found themselves all square at the break.
With Kieran Foran calling the shots and Shaun Johnson also a big part of the Warriors attack, the team simply needs to be better in grabbing matches by the throat and finishing them off.
Well the most famous match between the pair was probably their encounter a little over two months ago.
Penrith produced one of the great comebacks while the Warriors looked like a totally different side to the one established that huge lead early on.
The PANTHERS have won four of the past five contests between the teams, however, have suffered defeat in their past two trips across to Mt Smart Stadium. That could be an ominous sign here with NEW ZEALAND winning five in a row at the venue.
God help us but we are going with the NZ WARRIORS ($1.75 @ Unibet).
Yes they are a little shorter than what we would be comfortable with taking but the fact that the match is at home will play a big role in helping them secure the competition points.
We saw Manly really struggle last week against Penrith after returning from Perth. The Warriors have had the benefit of the bye and should be fresh for this encounter.
Penrith have won just three of their nine away fixtures in 2017 and going up against the Warriors, who are turning Mt Smart Stadium into a fortress, definitely puts them on the back foot.
We think we have found a nice novelty market for you to have a crack at as well. New Zealand ($2.10 @ bet365) in the Race To 20 Points looks appealing as they are averaging a tick over 18.3 points per game during their five-game home win streak.
The game itself should produce a finals-like atmosphere so punters, strap yourself in!
NEW ZEALAND 1-12 WINNING MARGIN