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Penrith getting sweet '16 feeling in NRL

NZN 9/06/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Oh to be sweet 16 again.

Penrith prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard has revealed the Panthers are experiencing a similar feeling during their current three-game winning streak to that which fuelled their run into last year's NRL finals.

Equal pre-season favourites with Melbourne, Penrith looked dead and buried when they lost five straight and languished second last on the ladder.

But ahead of Saturday's clash against Canberra, pundits are now jumping back on the bandwagon after the Panthers demolished Canterbury 38-0 last week.

Campbell-Gillard says there is now a familiar stench in the Bathurst air this week, where the squad has based themselves since Wednesday for their annual home trip in western NSW.

Asked if the feeling amongst the group was similar to 2016, he told AAP: "I think so too.

"It shows when we keep our game plan simple and just run hard and tackle hard.

"All those offloads and that ball movement come second nature.

"That's what we've done over the past few weeks and we're hoping to build on that on Saturday."

"We've really worked on our game over the last three to four weeks and it's translated into wins.

"Yeah, it has been a real slow start for us, but we're working to repay our fans and members."

Coach Anthony Griffin's decision to shift Matt Moylan to five-eighth worked a treat against the Bulldogs, however, the move also opened the door for youngster Dylan Edwards.

A member of the Panthers' 2015 under-20s premiers side and a Junior Kangaroos representative last year, Edwards is considered the fittest player at Penrith by a country mile.

"We did a 2.4km time trial and I don't know exactly what the time was, but when he finished it looked like he only started," Campbell-Gillard said.

"I came in finishing with my head between my legs and gasping for air.

"He'd come strong and looked like he'd never run it at all.

"He's pretty ridiculous.

"Last week I thought he was one of our best players in what is a massive role.

"Moyza looked comfortable at five-eighth, but this guy did too (at fullback)."

The 10th-placed Panthers enter the match with the same 17 that made mince meat of the Bulldogs, while the ninth-placed Raiders have been forced into two changes due to injury.

Shannon Boyd and Dunamis Lui both suffered knee injuries in the Raiders' golden-point defeat to Manly last week, meaning Iosia Soliola starts at prop and Royce Hunt debuts off the bench.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Penrith have won just one of their past five meetings against Canberra - a 19-18 win in the corresponding fixture at Bathurst last year.

* The Panthers are conceding just 1301 metres per game (1st in the NRL) and are running 1474 metres per game (4th).

* Since 2013, Canberra have won just one of 46 games when scoring less than 20 points.

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