After scraping through the past month with some unconvincing wins, Penrith will need to be at their very best this weekend and for the remainder of the season, if they’re to hold their place in the all-important top eight.
While winning “ugly” is sometimes all you need to do at this point of the season, Penrith will need to lift their game this Saturday night to overcome a strong Cowboys outfit who are also out to cement their spot in the Finals.
Speaking with Extra Time, Panthers backrower Isaah Yeo said while his side haven’t been playing their best footy of late, they are doing enough to get the points on the board.
“It’s been a good little period for us, it’s been a little bit scrappy but we are still finding a way to win which is the most pleasing thing,” he said.
“I think we are going to have to rise to the challenge this week. When you are versing teams like the Cowboys you have to stand up a little bit more and I think we do that well as a side.”
Ironically, North Queensland were the team to snap Penrith’s five game winning streak when they got the job done in Townsville in the dying minutes back in Round 16. On Saturday they’ll look to break the current streak of five wins and halt Penrith’s late season run.
Yeo said revenge will be sweet if they get the points over the Cowboys in what is Penrith’s fourth straight home game.
“Defence-wise it was our best game all year, we had almost no ball the whole game and they scored from a kick in the last two minutes after we defended our line for so many sets,” he said.
“The way that game finished wasn’t ideal but we took a lot of confidence out of that game and it’ll be nice to get one back on them this weekend.”
The following week Penrith were embarrassed by lowly South Sydney but haven’t lost a game since. Yeo said the side always had plenty of belief they would turn things around.
“It wasn’t an ideal performance against Souths, probably our most disappointing of the year, but it may have been a good wake-up call for us and we’ve had a good patch since then,” he said.
“The next month will be a real good test to see where we are at and to see if we deserve to be playing Finals footy.”
Nathan Taylor is the Western Weekender’s award-winning sports journalist. Nathan is also the Weekender’s Deputy Editor.