Having beaten South Sydney the last five times they played, it was always going to be a matter of time before the Rabbitohs bumped into Penrith again and jagged a win. Both teams have been among the top three all year and any Wayne Bennett lead side is too good to not fight back. With Souths it was their defence that needed fixing and that is what won them a classic qualifying final against the Panthers 16-10 on Saturday night.
Playing for the first time in a month, Forbes Ferrari Charlie Staines had an indifferent night for Penrith with a bad defensive read (that led to a try), a tough dropped ball and rustiness due to lack of game time. It also didn’t help that Dylan Edwards and Moses Leota were both scratched at kick-off. Staines will now sit out this week and hope for a start should they win and play Melbourne.
Penrith must beat arch-rivals Parramatta for the right to play Melbourne the following week in a grand final qualifier. Whatever happens it makes for intriguing viewing. Both Penrith and Parramatta have beaten Melbourne this year.
Tip: Panthers 1-12