Round 15 of the NRL season continues this Friday evening as the Sydney Roosters square off against the Penrith Panthers in what is arguably the match of the round. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:55pm AEST.
For teams to be up the pointy end of the NRL ladder, they need to win the close games.
Both these teams have made that into an art form over the past few rounds, with the Roosters beating the Tigers and Knights by 2 points and the Panthers beating the Raiders courtesy of a Nathan Cleary field goal.
Both teams find themselves well up the ladder and both conceivably could win the premiership.
While the Roosters haven’t been winning easy in recent weeks, they have been gradually improving.
Cooper Cronk seems to have found his groove which is allowing Luke Keary to play a very attacking game, feeding a backline featuring Tedesco, Mitchell and Ferguson.
Boyd Cordner is back from a weekend off after Origin with Siosiua Taukeiaho going back to the bench.
But for a one-point for-and-against differential, the Panthers would be sitting on top of the ladder leading into this weekend.
With 10 wins and 3 losses, they have just about booked their ticket into September. This has largely been on the back of the go-forward generated by the pack, led by Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
This has allowed James Maloney and Nathan Cleary to dictate terms and they are clearly the form halves combination in the NRL.
The Panthers are largely unchanged from last weekend, with Jack Hetherington replacing Viliame Kikau on the interchange, with Kikau succumbing to a knee injury.
The battle of the forwards and halves will decide this one. Whilst the Roosters have improved in recent weeks, the Panthers have got something special going on this year and I expect them to win in a tight game.
Panthers by 4
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