The St George Illawarra Dragons were outplayed by the Redcliffe Dolphins in their last outing. Adding to their woes, they are set to face a tough challenge when they play away against the Penrith Panthers this Sunday.
Ryan Carr‘s men had displayed signs of progress in their last win over the Roosters. However, after suffering their ninth loss of the season in Round 13, the Dragons need to regain their momentum to improve their current 17th place on the ladder.
In the defeat to the Dolphins, young halves Jayden Sullivan and Talatau Amone showcased moments of skillful attack. Carr’s focus now is to get Blues representative Ben Hunt to be fit in time for the game against the reigning premiers. With just a four-day turnaround, there are questions surrounding Hunt’s fitness. Nevertheless, Carr may rely on his experience and choose to play him in the State of Origin period’s critical juncture.
Although Penrith will be missing some of their players due to Origin duties, they will still pose a significant challenge to the Dragons at their home ground. Having won all five matches during last year’s Origin period, Ivan Cleary is confident in his squad’s ability to perform without their Origin stars. In this game, the Panthers are also more likely to test their young players in NSW Cup, allowing them to gain invaluable experience in the NRL.
In conclusion, the Dragons need a victory in this tough matchup to maintain hope of a late-season playoff push. The Panthers, on the other hand, have been the standout team for the past two seasons and will wait for this game to continue their winning streak.