Warriors Know Cleary’s Plans

Ivan Cleary - Penrith Panthers
Ivan Cleary is the man behind the Panthers resurgence. Image courtesy of: Picture: Phil Hillyard

New Zealand Warriors Logo

Warriors v Panthers

Mt Smart Stadium

Sunday June 29 – 2:05 PM (AEST)




Penrith Panthers Logo

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary knows the New Zealand Warriors all too well. The longest serving coach in the Warriors history (2006-2011), Cleary knows how they think. Since crossing back over the Tasman to take up the position at the Panthers, Cleary has the goods over the Warriors, beating them three out of four meetings, including a 62-6 thrashing back in Round 10 last year.

The Panthers are winding back the clock. Playing like the team that won the Grand Final back in 2003, they are sitting pretty in the top 4 after five straight wins. The big surprise is how well Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace are playing together. They play like a pair who has played their whole career together. Soward has improved leaps and bounds from his final years at the Dragons. He is running the ball a lot more and defending well on the edges. Adam Docker returns to the starting side, with Tyrone Peachy shifting back to the bench. Jamal Idris may be a late inclusion after dealing with some personal issues that last few weeks.

The Warriors are another team who has surprised a lot of people. Starting off the season like many expected, losing five of their first seven games, they have managed to turn their season around on the back of some impressive defence and flamboyant attack. Konrad Hurrell is back to his barnstorming best. It always seems to take three or four defenders to put the massive centre on his back. Dane Nielsen comes into the starting side, replacing Ngani Laumape in the centres in what is the only change from the team that beat the Broncos last Saturday.

Both teams are in great form at the moment. While the home ground advantage may help the Warriors, the Pennie Panthers would have prepared better than most for this clash.

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