Panthers 'get up' for Brookvale visit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers 'get up' for Brookvale visit

By Liam FitzGibbon 31/07/2008 03:35:13 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott says his young brigade faces its toughest test yet in Friday night's clash with NRL leaders Manly.

After a poor start the season, the Panthers have moved into the competition top eight and head into the Brookvale Oval clash looking to post three straight wins.

The form of the Panthers' talented juniors, including 17-year-old five-eighth Wade Graham, fullback Lachlan Coote (18) and centre Michael Jennings (20) has been a significant factor in their turnaround in form.

Elliott has admitted the youthful exuberance had added another dimension to his side in recent weeks but is fully aware of the added challenge posed by the Sea Eagles at their home ground.

"Of course it is (their biggest test), but I know they're really looking forward to it," Elliott said of the baby Panthers.

"You can be prepared to look at it as daunting ... but with the atmosphere at Brookvale, if you can't get up for a game like this, you probably need to find another profession.

"This is a real test for us and it's an exciting one."

Penrith sit seventh and well in the race for a finals spot but have a tough run to the finals, with this the first of two meetings with the Sea Eagles over the next six weeks.

They must also play reigning premiers Melbourne and the improving New Zealand Warriors away, but Elliott sees the draw as a good chance to galvanise his side for the possibility of finals football.

The `F word', though, was not being mentioned at training, he said.

"All we're talking about is playing our best footy against Manly and making sure we're ready to do that," Elliott said.

"That stuff (finals) will look after itself and if we play our best footy we'll get into a position to enjoy that stuff later."

Penrith have lost Coote (medial ligament) for the match while the Sea Eagles will again be without Anthony Watmough (knee), although they get Glenn Stewart back from a shoulder problem.

Despite last week's heavy defeat to the Sydney Roosters, Manly remain two points clear at the top of the competition and favourites for the minor premiership.

"They fully deserve their position on the ladder," Elliott said of the Sea Eagles.

"The thing that has struck me about them is that they put a full 80 together most games.

"You're not going to get them at a certain period where they become vulnerable."

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