We're not panicking: Puletua - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We're not panicking: Puletua

By Laine Clark 03/08/2004 10:38:41 PM Comments (0)

There was no shortage of smiles from bruising backrower Tony Puletua when the Penrith Panthers NRL side was named on Tuesday.

And it had nothing to do with the fact Puletua was cleared of a thigh injury for the Panthers' clash against Manly at Penrith Stadium on Saturday.

Kiwi international Puletua may be 192cm and 112kg, but nothing really prepared him for his rare stint at prop for the suspended Joel Clinton against the Bulldogs last weekend.

Puletua was the first to admit he was caught out of position in defence while he attempted to combat the Bulldogs' battering ram of Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley as the Panthers stumbled to a 46-20 loss.

No wonder Puletua couldn't hide his relief on Tuesday when incumbent Test prop Clinton was recalled following a one match ban and the New Zealand enforcer was reunited with second row partner Joe Galuvao.

"I was patting him (Clinton) on the back saying `welcome back, you can have your jersey back too'," Puletua laughed.

"It wasn't for me. I just felt a little bit lost at times, slotting back into defence."

Galuvao (ribs) and Puletua (thigh) are still being monitored by medical staff but the second row pairing affectionately known as the "hair bears" due to their huge, matching hairdos are quietly confident.

"We'll just see how it goes over the next few days but it should be right for the weekend - I'm pretty confident," Puletua said.

"It's good to have Joey back...he adds a bit more strength to the side - and he's been training well, he's pretty confident."

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