THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
5.30pm at Ausgrid Stadium
Knights $1.65, Panthers $2.25
Knights: Wes Naiqama, James McManus, Junior Sa’u, Keith Lulia, Akuila Uate, Tyrone Roberts, Kurt Gidley (c), Richie Fa’aoso, Matt Hilder, Evarn Tuimavave, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, Joel Edwards. Interchange: Isaac De Gois, Antonio Kaufusi, Cameron Ciraldo, Dan Tolar.
Panthers: Lachlan Coote, David Simmons, Joseph Paulo, Brad Tighe, Adrian Purtell, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Trent Waterhouse, Nathan Smith, Luke Lewis. Interchange (from): Nafe Seluini, Masada Iosefa, Matthew Bell, Dayne Weston, Petero Civoniceva (c).
Both sides are coming off the bye and are sitting next to each other on the ladder in 9th and 10th. For those who have forgotten, these two sides met in round one when the Knights handed out a thumping to the Panthers to the tune of 42-8. The Knights have Gidley backing up from Origin duties and in the Panthers camp it’s Civoniceva and Lewis, although it looks at this stage that big Petero may not play. The obvious absence for the Knights now is Beau Henry, who throughout out the week took on a contract with the Titans effective immediately. Tyrone Roberts slots into the 6 jumper and although Gidley and Roberts are not the first choice halves, I think they will be too strong for Penrith in front of their home crowd.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
North Queensland Cowboys v Warriors
7.30pm at Dairy Farmers Stadium
Cowboys $1.50, Warriors $2.50
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Ben Jones, Gavin Cooper, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ray Thompson, Johnathan Thurston (c), Matthew Scott (c), Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Scott Bolton, Dallas Johnson. Interchange (from): Michael Morgan, Joel Riethmuller, Ashton Sims, Leeson Ah Mau, Will Tupou.
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Glen Fisiiahi, Krisnan Inu, Simon Mannering (c), Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Aaron Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Steve Rapira, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Jeremy Latimore, Ben Matulino, Lewis Brown.
This is going to be a good game. Only Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott for the Cowboys are backing up from State of Origin but we have seen time and time again how Thurston manages to play brilliantly in games where he is backing up. Last week wasn’t a memorable one for either side with the Cowboys suffering their biggest loss this season at the hands of the Sea Eagles where the Warriors blew a handy lead to be run down by the Tigers in the last minutes.
The Warriors are proving to be a bit of an enigma at the moment as their season’s results so far having no solid form line to go off. Therefore I won’t be having any bets on this encounter.
Mike’s Best Bet: None