Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
This Saturday afternoon the Melbourne Storm will take on the Penrith Panthers in the most anticipated game of the year.
Since their match of the year contender back in round three, many predicted that these two sides would face in the 2021 NRL Grand Final; however, after the Panthers lost to South Sydney two weeks ago that became no longer possible.
We now must settle for this clash of the competition heavyweights in the Preliminary Final, with the winner going on to the Grand Final next week and the loser being eliminated.
Melbourne will be delighted to welcome back their strike winger in Josh Addo-Carr, who could be playing in his last game for the Storm if they are to lose.
Addo-Carr sustained a hamstring injury in Melbourne’s shock loss to Parramatta in round 24 and has not played since.
Penrith on the other hand has not received much positive news in terms of injury, with a Danny Weidler report via Twitter on Monday first displaying signs of concern for the Panthers.
IN THE RUNNING 🏅 Nathan Cleary has a chat after being named one of five contenders for the 2021 #DallyM Medal.
🎥 https://t.co/E6qTLQdK4g#pantherpride pic.twitter.com/CzPTcUrC7W
— Penrith Panthers (@PenrithPanthers) September 20, 2021
“Vili Kikau didn’t take part in Panthers pool session due to cut on his knee,” said Weidler. “He has a low grade ankle sprain.
“Brian To’o in a moon boot, unlikely to train this week, day by day for the game.
“Mitch Kenny was on crutches, Dylan Edwards limping.”
The Panthers then put out the following statement when announcing their team list for Saturday.
“Brent Naden retains his spot on the wing with Brian To’o named in the reserves as he attempts to overcome an ankle complaint,” said the Panthers via the club’s website.
“Viliame Kikau will have to prove his fitness to play while Tyrone May returns from a knee injury to replace Mitch Kenny, who is sidelined with the ankle injury he suffered in last Saturday’s victory over Parramatta.”
Originally, Penrith had stated via their trainer Peter Green that To’o had suffered a minor ankle injury that would only see him miss last weekend’s game against the Eels and that he would be back for this game against the Storm.
It seems the club may have overestimated his chances of being fit for this game.
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Harry Grant 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Nicholas Hynes 18. Aaron Pene 19. Tom Eisenhuth 20. Chris Lewis 21. Isaac Lumelume
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Stephen Crichton 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Matt Burton 5. Brent Naden 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Liam Martin 18. Izack Tago 19. Spencer Leniu 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Brian To’o
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