Panthers finalise preparations for season decider

Halfbacks come together: Nathan Cleary and Mitch Moses. Photo: NRL Images.
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Penrith have finalised preparations for tomorrow night’s NRL Grand Final, undertaking a captain’s run at Accor Stadium this afternoon.

There’s expected to be no late changes ahead of the season decider, though coach Ivan Cleary may start Mitch Kenny at hooker with Api Koroisau reverting to the bench. That decision won’t be made public until an hour before kick-off tomorrow.

Parramatta opted not to train at the Grand Final venue this week, instead wrapping up preparations with a captain’s run on Friday night at Kellyville Park.

The venue is an intriguing sub-plot to the Grand Final. Penrith have played at Accor Stadium twice this year and came away with two victories, both against Souths. Parramatta has also played there twice but failed to win on both occasions, falling to both the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs.

Penrith haven’t lost at Accor Stadium since the 2020 Grand Final.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said the side has prepared really well, declaring: “We’re ready.”

“We’ve been very consistent throughout the year. We understand our style and works for us. We’ve been in the big games before,” he said.

“Across the 80 minutes we feel really comfortable that we’ve prepared well and the experience works for us.”

A crowd of more than 83,000 is expected to pack into Accor Stadium tomorrow night for one of the most anticipated Grand Finals of the NRL era.

It is the first time western Sydney rivals Penrith and Parramatta have faced off in a decider and the first all-Sydney Grand Final to be played at Accor Stadium since 2014.

Penrith are hoping to become the second team in the NRL era to win back-to-back titles while Parramatta is aiming to break a 36-year Premiership drought.

Kick-off tomorrow is at 7.30pm.

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