It may still be three weeks away, but Panthers forward Scott Sorensen is already looking forward to going head-to-head with his brother-in-law, North Queensland co-captain and halfback Chad Townsend.
A final round blockbuster awaits the pair in Townsville on Saturday, September 3, which could have a huge bearing on who wins this year’s NRL Minor Premiership.
Penrith currently lead the competition, but the red-hot Cowboys – who have won seven of their past eight games – are chasing their tails in second.
If the Panthers drop a few matches over the coming weeks and the Cowboys continue their winning ways, it could set up for an almighty last round blockbuster north of the border.
Speaking with the Weekender earlier today, Sorensen said he’s proud of what Townsend has achieved since arriving at the Cowboys.
“Being family, I’m always talking to my sister about them (Cowboys) and how they’re going, and talking to Chad,” he said.
“It seems like he’s extremely happy up there, and they are doing very well.
“If it comes down to that final game for the Minor Premiership, it will be exciting, mate. I’m very happy for him though.”
Since arriving at the foot of the Mountains last season, Sorensen continues to be one of Penrith’s most consistent players.
Plagued by injuries and form since making his NRL debut in 2014 at Cronulla, Sorensen has now played 39 games for the Panthers across two seasons – a huge feat considering he only played five first grade games between 2014 and 2017.
Due to notch up his 20th game for the year against the Storm on Thursday night, Sorensen said preparation has been key in turning his career around.
“It just comes back to preparation and making sure my body is right and making sure I’m preparing the best I can for the team,” the 29-year-old said.
“That’s all I put my concern down to is just making sure I’m prepared and I’m ready to go, and I’m very fortunate and lucky to be playing for this club… I love playing at this club.”
Sorensen, who was part of the New Zealand Kiwis test squad earlier this year, said the coaches and support staff at Penrith have had a huge impact on him physically and mentally.
“Our coaches, who get me ready for the game, I definitely have to take my hat off to them,” he said.
“I’m just really enjoying my footy at the moment, it’s a really good spot here and a very special place to be.”
With fellow Kiwi forward James Fisher-Harris suspended for two weeks, Sorensen is looking forward to stepping up to the challenge in his absence.
“It’s a big loss, we absolutely love Fish here – just his mentality, work ethic and how much he competes during the game. It rubs off on all of us to be better and push harder,” Sorensen declared.
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 a decade.