The two teams will battle it out in the feature round five match of Raro Cars Rugby League Competition 2019 at Victoria Park.
The Bears are one of the only two undefeated teams in the competition alongside Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles who played Aitutaki Sharks last night. In the match against the Panthers, who have lost once against the Sea Eagles, the Bears may head in as the underdog but judging from their recent form, the young side will be no pushover in the weekly competition.
Any doubt about their fairytale run was put to rest in the brilliant win against former champions Avatiu Eels last week.
At Raemaru Park, the Bears put on a spirited performance to outsmart the Eels to make it four wins in a row.
They earlier defeated Takuvaine Warriors, Sharks and Titikaveka Bulldogs in the competition.
The defending champions Panthers managed to bounce back from the Sea Eagles loss to beat the Bulldogs 48-28 last week. A win against the Bears will be vital in their bid to maintain the chase for the top-place finish.
Panthers coach Darren Piri said they were wary of the resurgent Bears and their spirited squad.
However Piri said the focus was on executing their game plan to perfection and avoiding mistakes that could cost them dearly.
“We got to be wary of each and every team we play and against these young players, we have to be extra wary. We have been training throughout the week and obviously the boys will need to step up this weekend against a good side like the Bears,” Piri said.
“We are calling on supporters to turn up in numbers and enjoy a good game of league.”
In the other premier clash today, the Bulldogs will face the struggling Warriors at Teimurimotia Park. The match provides a perfect opportunity for the Bulldogs to get their first win against the Warriors who have lost all their matches so far with a big margins.
4.30pm Premiers Titikaveka Bulldogs-Takuvaine Warriors at Teimurimotia Park; 11.50pm U9/ U11 Nga/Matavera Sea Eagles-Avatiu Eels at Nukupure Park, 12.40pm U13 Nga/ Matavera Sea Eagles-Avatiu Eels at Nukupure Park, 1.40pm U19 Nga/Matavera Sea Eagles-Avatiu Eels at Nukupure Park, 3pm Reserves Nga/ Matavera Sea Eagles-Avatiu Eels at Nukupure Park; 12pm U9/U11 Tupapa Panthers-Arorangi Bears at Victoria Park, 12.50pm U/13 Tupapa Panthers-Arorangi Bears at Victoria Park, 1.50pm U16 Tupapa Panthers-Arorangi Bears at Victoria Park, 3pm Reserves Tupapa Panthers-Arorangi Bears at Victoria Park, 4.30pm Premiers Tupapa Panthers-Arorangi Bears at Victoria Park.