Penrith need to bounce back fast: Fittler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith need to bounce back fast: Fittler

17/03/2011 07:21:33 PM Comments (0)

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By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, March 17 AAP - Penrith great Brad Fittler believes the Panthers must bounce back quickly from their opening round NRL humiliation or face a long season of disappointment.

Penrith looked a long way off the pace in their 42-8 loss to Newcastle, and have the tricky task of entering a derby clash with Parramatta in terrible early season form.

But according to Fittler, the Panthers need to turn it around sooner rather than later or risk seeing their season slip away before they can fix it.

The Panthers and Sydney Roosters legend pointed to 2009, when he coached the Roosters in a 52-12 round one loss to arch rivals South Sydney.

The lack of energy on display in that capitulation figured prominently throughout the season and eventually cost Fittler his job.

The challenge for Penrith coach Matt Elliott is to ensure the rot doesn't set in too early as it did for Fittler's eventual wooden-spooners.

"The first game we got smoked and never really got any better," Fittler said.

"It's going to take a big turnaround (for Penrith) and it's a really big ask, especially this week against Parramatta who look like they're playing pretty confidently."

But Fittler couldn't rule out his old side producing an upset on Friday night - explaining that erasing big losses became harder as the season dragged on.

"I think the rebounds (from a heavy defeat) are a lot easier at the start because you're normally pretty fit so you're a better chance of putting on your best side," he added.

"Towards the end of the year rebounds are tough because you're limited with your players and in your stock (but) to say they can bounce back at Parramatta, who knows?"

Penrith have resisted the urge to rush Timana Tahu, who signed a one-year incentive-based deal with the club on Wednesday, into the centres to face his former teammates.

But Fittler is confident that Tahu will be comfortable playing at the foothill of the mountains and will prove to be an astute signing.

"I think it's fantastic," Fittler said. "Whether it's going to help Penrith at the moment, I'm not sure about that, but getting Timana back in the game (is positive).

"It's a fantastic place out (at Penrith), it's a place where you can play your footy.

"The media don't like travelling out there, they don't go past the tolls ... (So) he'll be able to focus just on his footy and I think he'll really warm to the area.

"And I think that's what he needs to do, he needs to find a home and I really hope he does, he's a great kid who has just been through a pretty shitty time."

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