When Reagan Campbell-Gillard was asked if he’ll give former skipper Matt Moylan a bit of a touch up when the two meet again on Sunday afternoon, the in-form Panthers prop held back from giving a juicy answer.
“The team haven’t spoken about it much, we know Matt’s a dangerous player and we know what he can do, but we are just going to focus on ourselves and worry about that later in the week,” Campbell-Gillard told the Weekender.
The big fella played a straight bat, but there’s little doubt there will be some extra feeling in Sunday’s game at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
“Matt was our captain here and close friend, it will be a bit weird. It’ll just be like last weekend when we played against Carty (Bryce Cartwright),” Campbell-Gillard said.
“There will be mixed emotions but we’ve got a job to do and that’s play some good football.”
With Moylan well and truly in the spotlight this weekend, the same can also be said for former Shark turned Panther James Maloney, who will also meet his ex-teammates for the first time this season.
While Maloney is certainly having a 2018 to remember six rounds in, the same can’t be said for Moylan, who is yet to win a game with his new club.
Campbell-Gillard expects Maloney to handle his return to the Shire without any distractions.
“I think he’ll handle it fine, he has the class and experience to handle things like that. I’m pretty sure he’ll be up for it,” he said.
“While the Sharks haven’t got off to a good start, we were in that same position last year. Once they get some momentum though, they’ll be hard to stop.”
Unfortunately for Cronulla they’ll be missing captain Paul Gallen against the Panthers while Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis and Wade Graham (extended bench) have been named but are all in severe doubt.
Despite Penrith having the edge in the battle of the big men, Campbell-Gillard is still wary of a Cronulla side that’s walking wounded.
“I’m sure whoever they bring in they’ll want to do a good job for their team,” he said.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves and keep working on the little things.”
Cronulla certainly aren’t alone in the injury stakes with Penrith also hit hard in recent weeks. The latest to go down is powerhouse winger Josh Mansour, who will be sidelined for more than a month with a fractured cheekbone. Campbell-Gillard said he felt for his teammate.
“That’s rugby league… poor bugger, he was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.