04/12/2023

Viliame Kikau scores one of his two tries against Manly. Source: Penrith Panthers

The Panthers and Raiders will face off on Friday night, will Tapine's return be enough for Canberra to stop Penrith from going 5-0?

Friday night’s blockbuster between the Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders is set to be the match of the round.

Both clubs are looking to continue their run of form, both netting big wins in the fourth round without incurring any injuries.

The Panthers proved in round three that they could come back from finals heartbreak, and following the fourth round, Penrith is one of two teams that are undefeated in 2021.

The Raiders fierce defence will be crucial to beating Penrith, managing to keep the Titans to just one try despite being challenged on the try line several times throughout the course of the match.

Jordan Rapana has been a key player in matches against the Panthers in the past, scoring 10 tries in the past 11 matches between the two clubs. Despite only scoring three tries so far this season, he’s been consistently averaging 151 running metres each week.

George Williams (kicking average 244.3) will be crucial to a Raiders victory but will be equally matched against the Panthers’ number seven.

The consistent form of Isaah Yeo (34 Tackles) has proved that the captaincy hasn’t disrupted his focus and on field form and a strong performance could be the key to a Panthers win.

The combination of Nathan Cleary (one try assist, 76.5% conversion rate) and Jarome Luai (three try assists, two tackle breaks) stepped up last week in the Panther’s massive win against Manly.

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Looking to go 5-0 Ivan Cleary’s men will be going in unchanged, a win tonight will be the first time in the club’s history that the Panthers will be undefeated after five rounds.

The return of Joseph Tapine following an ankle injury in the third round has caused a reshuffle in the the Panthers forward line, Ryan Sutton will make way for Tapine as Lock to start in as a Prop, meanwhile Dunamis Lui has been relegated to the reserves.

Josh Papalii will start again after beginning on the interchange last week and Ryan James will return to the interchange.

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