With the NRL finals race heating up Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs meet at Pepper Stadium on Friday night. Both sides go into round 17 off the back of much needed wins and will look to continue building momentum for a late season charge.
After three straight losses the Panthers got their campaign back on track with a come from behind win over Wests Tigers on Sunday. David Simmons was in red-hot form with four tries, while the return of Josh Mansour has provided extra bite to the Panthers attack.
With the State of Origin decider in midweek the Rabbitohs will be without Greg Inglis. Winger Alex Johnston will revert to his preferred position of fullback, although Aaron Gray has shown that he can also provide the finishing touches out wide – Gray has scored seven tries in his eight appearances for the Premiers. Souths will hope to improve on their most recent outing without Inglis, when they suffered a heavy loss in round 14 against the Tigers.
Adam Reynolds appears to have recovered from a concussion suffered last weekend and will resume his partnership in the halves with Luke Keary. After an injury hit first half of the season Reynolds will hope to provide the spark needed for his side to mount a defence of their Premiership crown.
A win for the Panthers on Friday could see them sitting inside the top eight at the end the round. For the Rabbitohs a spot in the top four is within sight, as well as the chance to put clear daylight between themselves and the chasing pack looking to lock in a place in the finals.
Friday 3rd July, Pepper Satdium Penrith 19:45
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