Rocked by a heavy injury toll in last week’s 40-20 loss to the Dragons, the Sharks will have their depth tested over the coming weeks.
The 2016 premiers have won just two games and are under pressure to prove that preseason polls which had them finishing in the top eight (some said top four) were on the money.
The Sharks are banking on high-priced off-season recruits Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan to start living up to expectations.
Penrith halfback James Maloney has led the way for the in-form Panthers (5-1) in the absence of injured young gun Ivan Cleary. Maloney spent two years with Cronulla and will be relishing his first game against his former team.
Head-to-head: Played 88; Sharks 47 wins; Panthers 38 wins; 3 draws
Matches at venue: Played 44; Sharks 27 wins; Panthers 14 wins; 3 draws
2017 result: Sharks won 28-2 at Panthers Stadium in round 7
Points per game: Sharks 14.7; Panthers 23.3
Points conceded per game: Sharks 19.3; Panthers 13.3
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League