Panthers vs Sharks: Origin hangover to take a toll on the Panthers late in the season

Penrith will be wary of a Sharks side hungry to move into the NRL top-four
The Sharks will need a win against the Panthers to break into the NRL top -four (Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers vs  Cronulla Sharks Preview & Betting Tips


The Panthers host the Sharks at Penrith Park as we close in on the business end of the season. The Sharks are well rested and coming off the bye last round and will be hungry to make it their consecutive win against the mountain men. 

Panthers


The Panthers showed against the Warriors that there is a future beyond Ivan Cleary if he decides to move on. Against the Warriors prior to the Origin break the Panthers were in sensational form putting the NZ outfit to the sword 36-4. 

Panthers coach Anthony Griffin has strongly pushed for his Origin trio to be rested for this clash and will be relying in James Fisher-Harris, James Tamou and Trent Merrin to create opportunities. The Sharks have won their last 4 games against the Panthers who may struggle with the Origin hangover at this point in the season. 

Sharks 


Fullback Josh Dugan has been pencilled in to make a return to the Shark’s starting line-up and he will provide some much-needed experience to Shark’s backline. Having declared his allegiance to Tonga Andrew Fifita will be looking to have a major impact against a fearsome Penrith forward pack. Fifita leads the competition for offloads with 53 and will be looking to combine with young gun Jesse Ramien. 

The Sharks youngster has provided his side with a real x-factor this season scoring 9 tries in 13 appearances. The Sharks will be well rested and should be able to edge the home side in an entertaining clash. 

Jesse Ramien has scored 9 tries in 13 appearances for Cronulla this season (Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Match Up


The Panthers have declared their hand early with their Origin trio set to be rested from their clash with Cronulla. The Sharks are well rested and have had two weeks to prepare for the clash at Penrith Stadium. 

Fullback Josh Dugan is on the verge of a return to the starting line-up that will have the edge over a Panthers side that will be feeling the effects of State of Origin.

The Panther won the round seven clash with Cronulla 26-22 and a win for the Sharks will put them within striking distance of the top four.

Key Statistics

  • The Sharks have won 9 of their last 11 games against the Panthers.
  • Sharks centre Jesse Ramien has scored 9 tries in 13 appearances.
  • James Maloney has missed 107 tackles for the Panthers.
  • Panthers have lost 2 of their last three games.

Verdict


The Sharks have been largely unaffected by the Origin break with Valentine Holmes the only notable name backing up from Game Three in Brisbane. The Sharks have won two of their last four games heading into the Origin break and have had the wood on the Panthers this season.

Penrith are reportedly considering resting their halves pairing of James Maloney and Ivan Cleary with the finals in mind giving Shane Flannagan’s men the perfect opportunity to get a win that will put them in contention for a top four finish. We’re confident that Matt Moylan can lead the Sharks to victory and the bookies agree with us, installing the Sharks 1.80 favourites.

Best Bet: Sharks to win @ 1.80
Anytime Tryscorer: Jesse Ramien @ 3.00
Dan Gardner 10 July 2018
NRL

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