Elliott backs Penrith to rediscover bite - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elliott backs Penrith to rediscover bite

By Ian McCullough 19/08/2010 05:34:36 PM Comments (0)

His side have hit a wretched patch of form at the worst possible time, but Penrith coach Matthew Elliott maintains his players are still good enough to book a home NRL final.

The Panthers slipped to fourth spot on the ladder after last Sunday's 43-18 thrashing by Wests Tigers, to continue a run that has seen them lose five of their last six games.

A gutsy Monday night win over St George Illawarra with a depleted side in round 17 looked to have underlined Penrith's premiership credentials, but since then, only lowly North Queensland have been beaten by Elliott's men as they desperately cling on to a top-four spot.

A desperate South Sydney travel to CUA Stadium on Friday, needing to win to keep their season alive, but Elliott said despite the loss to the Tigers, the mood around the camp has been good.

"Our morale is in good shape, we are disappointed with last week's performance but everyone here is in a good mood," Elliott told AAP.

Elliott also denied that he has had to turn to his senior players to help build up the confidence of his young side, who capitulated in the later stages of the second half.

"That really hasn't been an ongoing issue for us the leadership group has been good but we are in good shape," he said.

"We weren't great last week and to be honest, we weren't great for most of the game.

"We like to set ourselves high standards and we fell short, so we are looking forward to it.

"You know you are going to strike some adversity in the NRL season and this is our little bit of adversity, but I am confident and hopeful we can get out of it."

Penrith's second-half capitulation did not go unnoticed by the Souths players and Beau Champion, who will return from a knee injury on Friday, is confident they can inflict more misery on the Panthers.

"They struggled a bit on Sunday to the Tigers and perhaps there may be a few scars there and maybe their confidence is not that high," Champion told AAP.

"We have beaten them this season already so we can take something from that."

Ninth-placed Souths finished strongly against Melbourne last week, but still went down 18-16 at AAMI Park, and Champion suggests there were positive signs in defeat.

"It has been frustrating to watch the last two games from the sidelines, but against Melbourne we finished like a train, but were punished for a slow start," the centre said.

"However, if we get off to a flyer and carry on from where we left off against the Storm, then we will be hard to beat."

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