Elliott throws challenge to Jennings - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elliott throws challenge to Jennings

By Ed Jackson 17/09/2010 06:27:08 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matt Elliott has thrown out the challenge to out-of-sorts star Michael Jennings, demanding he lift his involvement for Saturday night's do or die NRL semi-final against the Sydney Roosters.

Jennings had a rare shocker in last week's 24-22 loss to Canberra, making four errors and little impact, and comes up against the competition's form centre in Shaun Kenny-Dowall at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"His carry count on the weekend wasn't what we'd expect from him but he had a little bit of a disappointing match," Elliott told Sky Sports Radio on Friday.

"The dynamics of footy have changed and the play out the back now's almost extinct so you've got to put yourself in the position to get that ball."

The 22-year-old NSW centre's form has fluctuated throughout 2010 and Elliott conceded a meniscus problem in Jennings' knee had not helped.

"He probably hasn't been at his dynamic best at times this year but he's played the majority of the season with a knee complaint," Elliott said.

"His contribution to the team's been more than significant."

Jennings will have his work cut out against Kenny-Dowall, who memorably scored the golden point extra time winner in the Roosters' epic 19-15 win over the Wests Tigers last week.

The Kiwi international is in the best form of his short career, having notched 12 tries in his last seven games.

The Panthers will finalise their side on game day, with fullback Lachlan Coote (osteitis pubis) and prop Tim Grant (ankle) to be assessed on Saturday morning.

Coote, who has missed the past six games, completed his first full training session on Friday.

"I'm not going to start giving out odds because we're not allowed to talk about punting in footy any more, but he's half a chance of playing," Elliott said.

The Roosters are under no illusions that both will play.

"Knowing them guys, they don't want to miss out on the semi-final, it's sudden death, so they'll probably do everything in their power to play and we're expecting them to play," Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello said.

Penrith will definitely be without international backrowers Trent Waterhouse (pectoral) and Frank Pritchard (hamstring), who have been replaced by Nathan Smith and Gavin Cooper, but inspirational captain Petero Civoniceva returns from suspension.

Brian Smith's side is injury free but the coach will trim a seven-man bench as the Roosters back up from their 100-minute classic against the Tigers.

"We had two days of full recovery where normally we'll do a little bit of recovery after the game and next day we'll come in and do a little bit," Minichiello said.

"Everyone's feeling pretty good."

The Panthers comfortably won the only clash this year between the 2003 grand final opponents, 28-6 in round five.

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