Destiny awaits young Panthers

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Brent Naden celebrates getting into the Grand Final last weekend. Photo: NRL Photos

The Penrith Panthers will be hoping to secure their second premiership in three years when they tackle the Manly Sea Eagles this Sunday afternoon in the Holden Cup Grand Final.

The minor premiership-winning Panthers qualified for their second NYC decider following a 50-16 thrashing of the New Zealand Warriors last Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

The Panthers will now take on Manly, who caused a huge upset last Saturday night when they pipped year-long competition favourites North Queensland 25-24.

Speaking with the Weekender, Panthers coach Cameron Ciraldo said preparations for this weekend’s decider at ANZ Stadium were running according to plan.

“Preparations are going good, we’ve named the same team that took on the Warriors and we’ll be doing everything the same as how we’ve done all year,” he said.

“What’s worked for us so far with our preparation will hopefully work for us again this week. It will be business as usual.”

This Sunday’s Grand Final will mark the fourth time the Panthers and the Sea Eagles will do battle this season, with Penrith running out winners on all three occasions so far.The most recent clash between the two sides came just three weeks ago when the Panthers hammered the Sea Eagles 44-24 in week one of the finals.

Ciraldo said he’ll be making sure his young troops don’t enter this Sunday’s game over confident.

“As a team we watched the Cowboys and Manly game together… and after it finished we spoke about how it didn’t matter what happened before, all that will matter is what happens in this 80 minutes on Sunday,” he said.

The 2015 Holden Cup Grand Final between Penrith and Manly at ANZ Stadium kicks off at 1.35pm on Sunday. It will be broadcast on Channel Nine, GEM and Fox Sports.

– Nathan Taylor

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