Sunday’s first NRL Round 23 match is between Newcastle Knights and Penrith Panthers. The opening bounce is set to commence at 14:05 local time with the game to be played at Hunter Stadium. The away team Penrith Panthers are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Newcastle Knights and Penrith Panthers.
When: 14:05 | Sunday 14/08/2016
Where: Hunter Stadium
Tip: Penrith Panthers at $1.23
Value Tip: First Try Scorer: Waqa Blake at $12.00
Knights: 1. Jake Mamo 2. Nathan Ross 3. Dane Gagai 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Brendan Elliott 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Mataora 9. Tyler Randell 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Korbin Sims 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Jacob Saifiti. Interchange: 14. Chris Adams 15. Josh King 16. Pauli Pauli 17. Mickey Paea 19. Pat Mata’utia.
Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Dallin Watene Zelezniak 6. Bryce Cartwright 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Leilani Latu 9. Peter Wallace 10. Moses Leota 11. Isaah Yeo 12. James Fisher-Harris 13. Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14. Sitaleki Akauola 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Chris Grevsmuhl 17. Zak Hardaker.
He’s just 18 years of age, but Nathan Cleary is no tweener.
The Penrith rookie showed why the club fast-tracked his NRL ascension, and Jamie Soward’s decline, by leading his side back into the top eight with a 38-18 demolition of the Sydney Roosters on Monday.
In just his ninth game in the top grade, Cleary scored the first try with an individual effort before laying on one a try-of-the-season contender for Tyrone Peachey in the second half.
Breaking into the backfield on a Bryce Cartwright reverse flick pass, Cleary then sliced a kick on the run to Peachey, who didn’t break stride, to finish off a 60-metre effort.
It was a play that showed off his trademark maturity well beyond Cleary’s years.
“It was a great try, wasn’t it?” coach Anthony Griffin said before trying to play down Cleary’s effort.
“He’s doing a great job. His kicking game is good, (but) I’ve got to give a wrap to Bryce (Cartwright) and Matty Moylan, Peter Wallace, the guys around him.
“They’re keeping him calm and pointing in the right direction, but he did a good job tonight for us.”
Even Cartwright, the league’s offload king, was stunned by the try.
“It was a pretty crazy try,” he said.
“Got the crowd pretty loud and it’s good for the birthday boy (Peachey) to cross twice. To score a try like that, it was a great team try. It was great to watch, wasn’t it?”
The good form of halves Cartwright and Cleary means it is now unlikely Griffin will push for the return of another young gun in Te Maire Martin, who is just two weeks back from a major shoulder injury.
“He played a full game on Saturday, but he’s scratchy,” Griffin said of Martin.
“There wasn’t anything wrong with what (our halves) did tonight, I wouldn’t think. But obviously it’s good to have people like Te Maire back. It gives us some options there.
The victory lifted the Panthers into seventh spot with four games remaining in the season, including next week’s clash against lowly Newcastle.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change