Young props put up hand for Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Young props put up hand for Panthers

By Todd Balym 15/02/2009 03:35:44 PM Comments (0)

The scorelines might not reflect it, but Penrith coach Matthew Elliott has found two towering beacons of hope out of the Panthers two heavy trial defeats.

The Panthers were belted 38-4 by South Sydney and 34-12 by Parramatta in separate trial matches on Saturday night but Elliott said he was impressed with the efforts of his young players at both games.

In particular, Elliott was excited by the performances of young props Tim Grant and Sam McKendry at Coffs Harbour against the Rabbitohs who showed they're ready to roll up the sleeves and go into battle with inspirational warhorse Petero Civoniceva in 2009.

Grant, 20, played five NRL games last season but struggled to reach full fitness after offseason ankle surgery.

With Grant in full flight and Adam Woolnough also injury-free after missing 19 weeks due to knee surgery last year, the Panthers have plenty of depth and size at the front of their pack.

"(Grant) missed most of last pre-season because he had ankle surgery and I thought it inhibited him right through the season but he certainly showed that he is going to be the player that we thought he could be," said Elliott.

"I know Timmy really sets his standards at the level Petero puts them and it's obvious in his play he wants the starting spot beside Petero.

"The other player we didn't get a very good season out of last year because of injury was Adam Woolnough so our front row stocks are good."

Meanwhile McKendry, 19, had two NRL games last year and continues to show the raw strength and mongrel that Penrith hope they can harness into a powerful NRL star.

"In a team that wasn't really rolling forward (McKendry) smashed a few holes into Souths," said Elliott.

"He is going to be a handful for anyone. We just need to be able to get a bit more time out of him constructively. We have a little bit of work to do with him."

The Panthers will continue their pre-season campaign with a clash against Parramatta at CUA Stadium on Saturday.

Elliott said he will name a stronger side for the game, but Civoniceva won't play and he will also limit the use of experienced duo Luke Lewis and Trent Waterhouse.

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