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NRL: Panthers rocked by Cleary blow

Penrith Panthers have been rocked by the news Nathan Cleary is facing a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

The Panthers are in action when they take on the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night, but they will have to do it without their influential playmaker.

Cleary picked up a hamstring injury in the recent win over Brisbane, with reports claiming he could be out for up to a month.

Penrith look the team to beat again this season and are priced at 3.80 to win the grand final, but the loss of Cleary is huge.

The Roosters have also started the season well, winning two from three, and are 6.00 to go all the way and win the premiership.

. What: Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers
. Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
. When: 19:00 (AEST), Thursday 28th March 2024
. How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel, Channel 9
. Odds: Sydney Roosters 1.68, Penrith Panthers 2.20

Roosters ready for Panthers test

The Roosters will be full of confidence after smashing their arch rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs, 48-6 in the last game.

Trent Robinson’s side are looking like genuine premiership contenders, but a date with the Panthers will be a huge test.

Penrith beat them on both occasions last season, scoring 70 points in the process and conceding just 10.

The Roosters are a different animal this year however and it should be a much closer contest.

They can be backed at 6.50 to win the game by 1-5 points. By 6-10 points is also the same price.

The Roosters are in good form at Allianz Stadium, winning seven of the past eight games at the venue.

In another boost for the Bondi outfit, James Tedesco is looking back to his best and capped a great performance against South Sydney with a couple of tries.

The skipper could prove to be the difference against the Panthers.

Panthers can win without Cleary

The Panthers also head into the game on the back of an impressive win over Brisbane Broncos in the grand final re-match.

They have bounced back well from the opening round loss to Melbourne Storm and could take some stopping this season.

Penrith have a great record against the Roosters, winning the last eight meetings between the two sides.

The loss of Nathan Cleary will be a big setback for Penrith but they showed they could beat the Roosters at Allianz without him last season.

On that occasion, they ran out 30-6 winners and can be backed at 26.00 to win by 21-25 points once again.

They will be hoping for some good news on the injury front with star forward James Fisher-Harris looking to return from a shoulder injury.

Sunia Turuva is in great form for Penrith and grabbed the opening try in the win over the Broncos.

Brian To’o also helped himself to a couple and will be a big threat to the Roosters on Friday night.

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