The Panthers will look to continue their late season surge against the Tigers in Sunday afternoon footy.
Penrith’s awful 2-7 start to the season has been completely turned around with an impressive eight wins from 10 games heading into this clash at Pepper Stadium.
Last week, they ended the Bulldogs finals campaign with a dull 16-8 result in Thursday Night Football in a math they were never really comfortable in but were also never going to lose.
As for the Wests Tigers they broke through for a well deserved win after going to Robina and handing the Gold Coast a lesson in a 26-4 triumph.
PENRITH has pretty much been walking a finals tightrope for several weeks now but Anthony Griffin’s men haven’t really faltered recently.
They now enter Round 22 in ninth spot and equal on points with the Dragons who are in front of them on For and Against. While the Red V are faltering, Penrith is firing.
They come into the game off the back of a four-game winning streak which has seen them beat team in and around the top eight and this is game is definitely no harder than those.
Bet365 aren’t taking any chances with Penrith and have them safe in the market @ $17 to win the premiership.
TURNING THE TIDE
WESTS TIGERS fans were right to celebrate after last week’s win over the Gold Coast.
Out of finals contention themselves, Wests Tigers then made sure that the Titans would be joining them early on a Mad Monday celebration at the end of the regular season.
Although outsiders the win shouldn’t have come as a complete shock with the Tigers showing some good form of late without winning.
They easily handled the Knights a month ago to break a seven-game losing streak while they were competitive enough against Manly in Round 19 and should have beaten Parramatta two games ago before doing down by a point.
The Parramatta formline is quite strong and on that basis we don’t mind the $3.75 @ bet365 for the Tigers to nail another upset.
PENRITH has a strong recent record against their neighbours.
The Panthers have won four of the past five clashes between the sides including a 34-point thumping back in Round 2 at Campbelltown.
Wests Tigers have a decent strike rate at Pepper Stadium though with three wins from their past four visits, however, those were between 2011 and 2013 and that team doesn’t look anything like the one that will line-up on Sunday.
In what could be an ominous sign for either side the average winning margin in these contests over the past five games has been whopping 22.2 points.
It is no surprise to see bet365 @ $2.10 for a Panthers 13+ result while a Tigers win in the same margin range is returning a huge $10 at the same corporate bookmaker.
This is Penrith’s game to lose considering they have everything to play for.
Matt Moylan has been named on an extended bench and his presence will definitely influence the final outcome of this game. We fancy the Tigers will give the home side a game.
It will be the first time that Ivan Cleary coaches against his son Nathan. The last time this happened was back in 1990 when Bob McCarthy coached the Gold Coast against his son (Darren) and the Rabbitohs.
In a strange twist, it will also be the first time that Malakai Watene-Zelezniak comes up against his old club (Penrith) and brother, Dallin.
The one thing holding us back from tipping the Tigers is the fact they haven’t registered back-to-back wins all season and their 26 points last week against the Gold Coast was just the sixth time they have topped 20 points in a match in 2017.
Cleary’s men are fighting to stave off the wooden spoon and showed last week what they are capable of. They effectively ended the Titans season – can they doing it again here?
If you are looking for an ‘out’ after a bad weekend then have a throw at the stumps and take the Tigers.
WESTS TIGERS +10.5 LINE
ESAN MARSTERS FIRST TRYSCORER – the youngster opened the scoring last week and has four tries in just eight matches