The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

First win set up Penrith's record year

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
1st October, 2020
4

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary says his young side will take confidence from their Round 1 win over the Sydney Roosters in Friday night’s qualifying final.

Cleary could never have predicted what would follow a Round 1 NRL victory over the Sydney Roosters, but it did set Penrith up for what was to come.

The young Panthers side had some success in the NRL Nines in February before shocking the competition with a 20-14 upset against the short-priced premiers in the first game of the year.

It sent shock waves through the competition considering the Panthers had lost James Maloney from the year before, leaving question marks over their attack.

And since then, the Panthers have lost just one game and drawn another.

Ahead of Friday night’s qualifying final against the Roosters at Panthers Stadium, Cleary said the team has ridden the confidence that first win gave them all throughout the season.

“When the draw comes out and you look at your early rounds, sometimes it can be a good thing to get the top dogs first up so that means you’ve got months to prepare mentally for your first game,” he said.

“We just saw it as a chance to get out and compete against the best.

“Sometimes it doesn’t really matter what the result ends up being, but you can learn a lot about yourself and where you stand.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

That night, the Panthers were 12-0 down after 20 minutes but clawed their way back into the contest.

They were the signs Cleary wanted from a young side.

And although the COVID-19 pandemic did its best to end the NRL season – and Penrith’s momentum – they carried on.

“We got the result but there were other things around our performance and what we needed to do to be successful, we were able to get done that night,” he said.

“It was a bit unfortunate it was only a week later everyone broke for six weeks.

“But we came back and played some other big games after that, Melbourne, Parramatta and Souths.

“By Round 6 or 7 we’d had some good wins under our belt and that definitely gave us confidence.”

Their 15-straight wins are the most a side has had coming into the finals since Jack Gibson’s 1975 Roosters team that went on to win the title.

Advertisement
Advertisement

© AAP