Walsh eyes last laugh against Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Walsh eyes last laugh against Knights

By Todd Balym 01/09/2009 05:32:02 PM Comments (0)

Penrith's Luke Walsh would love to sink the boot into Newcastle's NRL season, but Panthers coach Matthew Elliott has warned he'll do the kicking if the young halfback takes Sunday's finals playoff personally.

Hollywood writers couldn't have scripted such a dramatic finish to the NRL season as what will take place at Newcastle's EnergyAustralia Stadium, with the winner to take the eighth and final post-season place.

Adding to the intrigue, Walsh will return to the town where he grew up, play against a team his family still supports and a club that told him he wouldn't play first grade this year.

A 22-year-old once hailed as the next Andrew Johns who stands between the Knights and a place in the finals.

But Elliott was quick to put Walsh in his place on Tuesday.

"If Walshy gets tied up in it, he is going to have a big size 11.5 (shoe) and I'm going to introduce it to his backside," he said.

"I'm sure you're going to write about the kid that was turfed out from Newcastle returning back there ... (but) if Luke gets distracted by it I'm going to be peeved."

Walsh was excited he would finally get the chance to face his former teammates, having changed clubs just one week into the NRL season.

Determined not to treat the game any differently, Walsh admitted it would be an added bonus to beat his former side.

"If we knock them off it will be," said Walsh.

"I didn't think it would turn out like this. It's a must-win game for us, I really can't wait for it."

Win or lose though, Walsh already feels like his move to Penrith has been vindicated following 17 NRL games and a long-term deal.

"I love the move. I couldn't ask for anything better," he said.

Walsh was careful not to say too much about his former club on Tuesday, particularly after Elliott's threat if he got carried away with the hype.

Elliott believes it was the hype of last week's Jarryd Hayne v Michael Jennings match-up that got the better of his young side after a crushing 48-6 loss to Parramatta.

"If we want to start focusing on that we will get the same result," said Elliott.

"I probably sat back and shook my head at some of the stuff around a great event last week.

"It's good to have a great event and it's good for the sport and it's great for the fans, but coaches and players need to get ready to play.

"We've discussed it already, none of that stuff (media hype) matters.

"You guys feed your kids by what you write ... he feeds himself and builds a house on what he does on the footy field.

"I thought last week we did a really poor job of handling the event of a big game. That's the truth of it."

Jennings warned the Panthers wouldn't waste their second chance, sensing something special when his side arrived at training on Tuesday knowing their season was alive thanks to Canberra's win over the Knights on Monday.

"I can see it in the boys' eyes, they're all hungry and wanting to win this week," said Jennings.

"It's our second chance so we will grab it with both hands.

"This is do or die."

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