The panel on The Late Show With Matty Johns was split firmly down the middle when debating the merits of the Penrith Panthers resting their stars for the final game of the NRL regular season.
The Panthers take on the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday evening and could wrap up the minor premiership if they emerge victorious.
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However, the Cowboys will be no pushovers given a victory could see them make the eight.
Given Penrith already have a finals spot locked in, there is a case to be made for coach Ivan Cleary to keep some of his stars in cotton wool for the finals.
Yet Brian Fletcher and Nathan Hindmarsh felt the Panthers boss will desperately want to bounce back from their horror defeat to the Parramatta Eels last week.
“I don’t reckon they’ll rest them, no,” Fletcher said.
“I think after last week when they got beaten by Parramatta, and the fact no [Jarome] Luai, so they need Cleary and Cogger to form some sort of partnership in the halves.”
Hindmarsh added: “I think they’ll want to prove a point. They’ll want to get stuck into the Cowboys and really set that platform leading into the semi finals and get back to where they know they can play their best footy.
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“I think the forwards were a bit below their best last week. I think they’ll be out to prove a point.”
However, Matty Johns disagreed with the duo and felt Cleary will look at this weekend as a golden opportunity to keep some of his big names rested ahead of the finals series.
“I’d be really surprised if Nathan [Cleary] plays,” Johns said.
“I’d be surprised if Nathan plays and [Moses] Leota and [James] Fisher-Harris play.”
Gorden Tallis concurred and felt the risk of something going awry in the game and ruling a Panthers player out for the finals was too great.
“You look at the judiciary, you look at the HIA, I wouldn’t risk it,” Tallis said.
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