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|Penrith Panthers v Wests Tigers
Thursday, May 17, 7:50pm (AEST)
Panthers Stadium, Penrith
|Best: Penrith -4.5 ($1.91)
Value: Penrith 21-30 Points/Wests 11-20 Points ($5.50)
First Tryscorer: Tyrone Peachey
The Panthers will get a timely addition to their side in the form of Nathan Cleary this week, and the irony couldn’t be more evident as his return from injury will come against his father, Ivan Cleary and his Tigers. It won’t be the only family affair in the match as brothers Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak look to lock horns. The Panthers will be looking to further cement their spot in the Top 4 with a win, while a victory by the Tigers will see them join the Panthers on 14 competition points.
Penrith have moved up to second following their road win against Newcastle. The Panthers have a 7-3 record with the fourth best attack and fifth ranked defence. Penrith have averaged 25.6ppg in their last five, all without Nathan Cleary. The Tigers are seventh on the ladder with a 6-4 record and only ended a three-game losing streak with a home win over North Queensland. The Tigers rank third in defence but are the 11th best attacking team in the NRL. The Tigers have scored 20-plus in four of their last five.
Nathan Cleary v Luke Brooks: It’s hard to go past the battle of the halfbacks in this one. Cleary makes his return from a knee injury and will be looking to play his way into a NSW jersey over the next fortnight. James Maloney has done a great job with Cleary on the sidelines, but this is Cleary’s side, and he’ll be looking to impress the NSW selectors and get another win over his father like he did last year. The whispers won’t go away that Nathan Cleary will look to join his father, Ivan after his contract is up at the Panthers, and if it’s at the Tigers, it would most likely be at the expense of Luke Brooks, who is off-contract at the end of 2019. Brooks has been playing sensational football this season and is currently sitting tied for third on the Dally M leaderboard. He will have a point to prove on Thursday night and will want to show Ivan Cleary that he is the only halfback that belongs in Tiger Town!
Stats That Matter
– Penrith are 6-4 ATS with a 6-4 over record and have gone over in six of their last eight.
– The Tigers are 7-3 ATS with a 6-4 under record.
– Penrith have won three straight and five of their last six against the Tigers, including the last two at Penrith.
– Those five wins have all come by margins of 14 or greater with Penrith posting 26-plus in six straight.
– Four of the last five clashes have topped 42 points.
– The Panthers are 23-15 ATS at Penrith Stadium over the last four seasons with a 22-16 under record.
– The Panthers have covered 9 of their last 11 at the ground while they have covered 13 of their last 18 as a favourite at the ground.
– Penrith are 14-7 ATS since 2015 – including 12 of their last 14 – as a favourite of 4 or more at the venue.
– The under is 17-6 since 2015 when Penrith play off a double digit win.
– The Tigers have failed to cover their last three away from their suburban home grounds.
– The Tigers have covered 14 of their last 18 getting a start of 4 or more.
– The Tigers are 14-5 under as an underdog of 4 or more off a win.
– The under is 6-3 after the Tigers have conceded 12 or fewer and are playing on the road.
– Non-interstate outsiders of 4 or more off a win of more than a converted try are 36-63 ATS since 2008.
There can only be one winner in the Cleary household this week and The Wolf is siding with Nathan Cleary. The Panthers have won three straight and five of their last six against the Tigers. Penrith is also a tough side to beat at home, and have covered 9 of their last 11 at Panthers Stadium.
How It’s Shaping Up
Penrith by 10