It’s a massive Friday night in the NRL as we’re treated to another doubleheader. The Rabbitohs and Warriors are both 2-3 on the season and the winner will move into the top 8. Then, Campbelltown Stadium features one of the games of the round as the 3rd placed Storm battle the 5th Panthers from 7:55pm.
(Fri, Jun 19 6:00pm)
After 3 straight defeats, Souths got their season back on track with a comfortable 32-12 victory over the Titans last Saturday. Latrell Mitchell was again super impressive for the home side with 3 try assists, Dane Gagai scored a double after a slow start to the season and Tom Burgess led the pack with 213 run metres. It was also great to see Cody Walker back on the park for the Rabbitohs after his suspension from the last few rounds. With Walker returning and Mitchell finding his feet at fullback, Souths will look to continue their attacking best against the Warriors this Friday. Once again, James Roberts continues to be a mystery man for Souths as he's been named in the reserves, so that's something to watch before kick-off.
In fast-paced/high scoring affair with the Cowboys last week, the Warriors prevailed 37-26 and now sit 11th on the ladder. The key for the Warriors was taking advantage of the Cowboys mediocre edge defence, which included 3 tries for Peta Hiku. Kodi Nikorima was arguably best on the ground as well and has pretty much sealed up the #6 position for now. The concern for the Warriors this season has been their consistency so it's a tough challenge trying to predict which Warriors side is going to turn up. There's good news at team selection as the New Zealanders will run with the same 17.
Looking at the history between these two sides, it's usually a high scoring contest and we don't see much difference at Bankwest this Friday. In the last 5 meetings, the total has reached 40 or more points and averages 47.8 points overall in those 5 previous matchups. Souths are coming off scoring 32 points at the same venue last week and have Mitchell firing. Meanwhile, the Warriors scored their highest total of the season just last week (37 points). So we like the Over total points here.
(Fri, Jun 19 7:55pm)
Penrith will be hugely disappointed in their second-half performance last week. After leading 10-0 against the Eels at Bankwest, they were held scoreless in the last 42 minutes and Parramatta took advantage in the last 20 minutes with 3 tries to seal the victory. But the positive for the Panthers was the successful return of Nathan Cleary at halfback and they should be confident of an upset over the Storm if they can fix their second-half problems. There's also extra motivation for the Panthers this Friday as they've struggled to beat the Storm recently with 4 heavy defeats in the last 5 meetings. In team news, they will get Dylan Edwards back at fullback and Caleb Aekins will drop out of the side. They picked up an injury to Kurt Capewell last week and he'll be replaced by Liam Martin in the run-on side.
It was another vintage performance by Cameron Smith last Saturday night as he led the Storm to an impressive 26-12 win over the surging Knights. After Newcastle had scored 34 points against the Raiders, the Storm successfully kept them to just 2 points in 53 minutes and they also quelled the influence of the Pearce/Ponga combination. Tino Faasuamaleaui also had one of his best games in the NRL and they really didn't seem to miss Hughes at halfback as Cam Smith basically ran the show. So the Storm will now head back to NSW and they'll aim for a 4th straight road victory in season 2020. There's likely to be late team changes for the Storm as Brandon Smith has started at prop in the last few games but is named on the bench at this stage.
This should be a really tough contest between two in-form sides and we believe that defence will be the key for both sides. Penrith are coming off a shutout in one of their last 2 games and also held the Eels scoreless for a large majority of last week's Friday night encounter. Meanwhile, Melbourne have allowed just 20 total points to Souths and Newcastle in the last 2 weeks. They also have a great record against Penrith, having allowed 10 or fewer points in 4 of the last 5 clashes.
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