Do or die between Warriors and Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Do or die between Warriors and Panthers

30/08/2008 12:49:55 PM Comments (0)

With the finals just weeks away, the New Zealand Warriors and the Penrith Panthers will be going for broke at Sunday's NRL clash in Auckland.

Both clubs must win on Sunday to keep finals hopes alive, and will have to bounce back from poor performances last week, when the Warriors lost to the Dragons, and the Panthers were humbled by Melbourne Storm.

Just one point separates the teams on the ladder, with the Warriors on 26 to the Panthers 25, although New Zealand have by far the worse points differential.

The Panthers will be playing out of their comfort zone in front of a parochial Mt Smart crowd.

An injury cloud also hangs over their star second rower Frank Pritchard.

But Warriors captain Steve Price said the Panthers remained a dangerous team.

"They work very hard for each other defensively. I think most teams that have beaten them have had to play pretty close to their best footy for the majority of the game," Price said.

"They have guys who can just open up the game from anywhere at any time," he said.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said at training that his team had no room for slip-ups, particularly after last week's clanger, when they lost to the Dragons 34-6.

"We know what is in front of us. We are looking to get back on the horse," he said.

He said the last home games for Warriors veterans, Ruben Wiki, Logan Swann and Wairangi Koopu could be an extra incentive for his team to perform.

"We have had a bit of success in the past in games that have got a bit of emotion attached to it, so hopefully we can channel that in the right direction," Cleary said.

The Warriors will also be buoyed by the return to the team of loose forward Micheal Luck, after he recovered from an injury.

Luck was the NRL's top tackler last season and despite being sidelined is still third on this year's list.

Wiki, who will end his career on Sunday after playing more than 300 matches, said it should be a great game.

Asked how he could handle dangerous cats like the Panthers he said: "Just give them a big saucepan of milk."

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