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Penrith Panthers v New Zealand Warriors

Saturday, May 13, 3pm (AEST), Pepper Stadium, Penrith

It’s been a disappointing season for the Panthers, with many experts installing them as joint premiership favourites before a ball was kicked in anger. The Panthers have dropped five straight and their season looks to have fallen off the rails after the trio of Matt Moylan, Waqa Blake and Peta Hiku were stood down for breaking team protocol. The Warriors are starting to hit their straps and were ultra-impressive in their last start win over the Roosters. They need to replicate that effort at the foot of the mountains on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers have won 6 of the last 8 against the Warriors. Penrith have won the last three in Penrith by margins of 14, 16 and 56. Both teams shared the spoils in 2016, with the Panthers winning the Round 10 clash 30-18, with Panthers utility Tyrone Peachey scoring a hat-trick. The Warriors bounced back in 21, defeating the Panthers 20-16, with both David Fusitua and Josh Mansour crossing for doubles.
Penrith have been the big disappointments of 2017 with just two wins and have dropped five straight. In those five losses, their defence has been abhorrent, conceding 21-plus in four of the defeats. The Panthers have scored more than 20 just twice this year – against Newcastle and the Tigers. New Zealand enter this off their best win of the year, a gritty 14-13 win over the Sydney Roosters. The Warriors have won three of their last five but all four of their 2017 wins have come at Mt Smart with their average loss in Australia this year being 10.67 points. The Warriors have not conceded more than 20 in their last four.
Key Matchup
Bryce Cartwright v Kieran Foran. One criticism of Cartwright has been his decison-making when attempting to offload the football. He made six offloads in the Round 9 loss to the Broncos and will attempt to create second phase play through his offloads and tire the Warriors pack. Keep an eye on team news, with Te Maire Martin named on the extended bench. Foran finally announced that he will be leaving the Warriors at season’s end in a major blow to the club as he has been the Warriors best this year. He is allowing Shaun Johnson to play his natural game and is a constant threat when he takes on the line.
Stats That Matter
Penrith are an NRL-worst 2-7 ATS with a 6-3 under record while New Zealand are 3-6 ATS with a 6-3 under number. The Panthers have won 6 of the last 8 against the Warriors. Penrith have won the last three in Penrith by margins of 14, 16 and 56. The Warriors have scored more than 20 in just 2 of their last 8 against the Panthers. Home favourites who conceded 30-plus last start are 32-43 ATS since 2014 while home favourites of 5.5 or less are 11-21 ATS. The Panthers are just 5-10 ATS when favoured at home by less than a converted try. The Warriors have covered just 5 of their last 15 as a road outsider.
Final Thoughts
The Wolf is always cautious when tipping up the Warriors, but has been impressed with their efforts over the past two rounds against both the Storm and Roosters. It’s hard to trust the Panthers while they’re on a five match losing streak, despite their recent record over the Warriors at Penrith. Warriors in a close one.
How It’s Shaping Up
New Zealand by 1
Best Bet
New Zealand +2 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
New Zealand ($2.10)

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