Panthers determined to bust Raiders myth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers determined to bust Raiders myth

By Joe Barton 10/09/2010 05:11:20 PM Comments (0)

Penrith are determined to bust the myth that Canberra have the biggest and most destructive forward pack in the NRL when they collide in Saturday night's qualifying final.

Led by giant props Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (112kg), David Shillington (111kg) and Dane Tilse (112kg), the Raiders have been touted as the benchmark when it comes to size, but the stats don't lie - and when it comes to muscle up front, Penrith take the cake.

Even without suspended 193cm enforcer Petero Civoniceva, Penrith's starting pack tip the scales at a whopping 634kg, outweighing their opponents by 23kg.

It doesn't hurt when you've got big boppers like Tim Grant (111kg) and the newly re-signed Sam McKendry (111kg) to fill the front row spots in Civoniceva's absence, but the real muscle comes from out wide where 112kg beast Frank Pritchard lurks.

They are the sort of figures which bring a smile to the face of Panthers coach Matt Elliott, and they're enough to convince him his engine room will more than match what Canberra have to offer.

"If you went down and checked the weights of both packs, I think you'd find that we might just come over the top of them," Elliott said on Friday.

"It would be lovely to have Petero, because of his influence on his team-mates and obviously his individual contribution, but we'll get to see him in our next game.

"(For now) you just need to stand beside (props) Timmy Grant and Sam McKendry and Gavin Cooper and (Matt) Belly.

"One of Canberra's assets is that they've got big props (but) if you have a look at the size of their backrow and have the look at the size of our backrow ... I think our backrowers are bigger."

Not that Elliott is trying to talk down the Raiders big men - he is well acutely aware they hold the key to Canberra's hopes.

"And they're not just big, they run hard (too)," Elliott added.

"We've got some challenges there.

"They're a team full of confidence at the moment and they've got some real strike and if we don't roll our sleeves up defensively ... they're a hard team to defend over a sustained period."

Canberra's Dally M prop of the year, Shillington, agreed the battle of the monster packs would be a highlight of the match and has called on fellow Origin dynamo Learoyd-Lahrs to lift his game for the occasion.

"It's semi finals footy now and Penrith have got such a big pack, it's all the more important for Tommy and I to lift another gear," Shillington said.

"We've got a pretty good combination going at the moment and we've both been playing some good footy, so it's time now to step up another level and live up to the semi-finals hype."

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