Panthers see bright side of NRL ruck woes

Scott Bailey and Matt Encarnacion
Coach Ivan Cleary is trying to figure out why Penrith are strugglng in the set restarts department

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has told his team to look on the bright side of their six-again issues, given they're sitting third in the NRL without getting any favours with set restarts.

If there has been one team not to benefit from the new ruck rules it has been the Panthers.

Cleary's men have been pinged 21 times for ruck infringements in the four weeks since the rule was introduced - equal-most in the NRL alongside Canterbury.

They have also received the fewest set restarts of any team - just seven - headed into Thursday night's clash with South Sydney.

In last week's win over Melbourne they were on the wrong side of a 7-0 restarts count.

It was a similar story in their 90-minute draw against Newcastle in round three, being handed no set restarts but giving away four.

"It makes it harder, that's for sure," Cleary said.

"Our ratios are quite a bit different to everyone else's.

"One thing we can take is that regardless of those stats we're still winning our fair share of games.

"It's something we can take confidence out of."

Penrith's numbers are at odds with the rest of the competition.

While Canterbury games generally have the most set restarts, the Bulldogs have given away 21 but received 24.

Newcastle have been the biggest winners, having given away just seven set restarts while handed 20.

Conversely, Brisbane have had 18 blown against them and 11 given in their favour.

Cleary has regularly spoken to referees boss Bernie Sutton for clarification around the issue but this week opted not to.

"All we can work on is trying to work out why we're giving them away," Cleary said. "We're working on it.

"And in terms of getting them is about putting pressure on the opposition and hope the referee sees it so you can try and get some."

Working in Penrith's favour is their 82 per cent completion rate, the best this season.

Meanwhile, Cleary is weighing up whether to bring Tyrone May back onto the bench as a utility or stick with Matt Burton.

For Souths, James Roberts is set to come off the bench for his first game since checking himself into a rehabilitation clinic during the coronavirus shutdown.

EACH NRL TEAM'S RUCK RECORD

Brisbane: Awarded - 11, Conceded - 18

Canterbury: Awarded - 24, Conceded - 21

Canberra: Awarded - 16, Conceded - 15

Cronulla: Awarded - 20, Conceded - 18

Gold Coast: Awarded - 16, Conceded - 20

Manly: Awarded - 14, Conceded - 19

Melbourne: Awarded - 13, Conceded - 11

Newcastle: Awarded - 20, Conceded - 7

North Queensland: Awarded - 16, Conceded - 17

Parramatta: Awarded - 14, Conceded - 13

Penrith: Awarded - 7, Conceded - 21

South Sydney: Awarded - 15, Conceded - 11

St George Illawarra: Awarded - 22, Conceded - 18

Sydney Roosters: Awarded - 14, Conceded - 13

Wests Tigers: Awarded - 14, Conceded - 19

Warriors: Awarded - 19, Conceded - 14

(Source: Fox Sports Stats)