As Penrith count down the weeks until Finals footy, superstar Panthers winger Brian To’o says he refuses to rest even if he gets the tap on the shoulder from coach Ivan Cleary.
“Hell no! I don’t want to rest,” the 24-year-old told the Weekender on Tuesday.
“I love putting on the Panthers jersey and there’s nothing more I want to do than to play for this team, play for the boys. I don’t want to rest at all, to be honest.”
While To’o is very defiant towards having a week off, it may not be his call with coach Cleary determined to preserve his best players ahead of another hard-fought NRL Finals Series.
To’o said with his best mates in Stephen Crichton and Spencer Leniu moving on at season’s end, he wants to make the most of his time with the pair.
“Even though I’ll see them outside of footy, you live these moments to the fullest and that’s something I really want to do,” he said.
“Especially for the boys that are departing in Spencer and Critta as well – you just want to make the most of everything.”
The Panthers are once again favourites for this year’s Premiership, but they do have a worthy challenger in the Brisbane Broncos breathing down their neck.
Both sides are on equal competition points heading into Round 25, with the coveted Minor Premiership race set to go down to the wire.
To’o said he’s been impressed with the Broncos in 2023, but believes they aren’t Penrith’s only threat in achieving a magical three-peat.
“Every team is up there,” he said.
“Brisbane are a very competitive team as well and have come a long way over the past two or three years now.
“I’m really happy for them to see where they are at. They are heading towards the top as well and I’m looking forward to seeing them later down the track.”
Before a potential match-up with the Broncos in September, the Panthers will make what is likely their final trip up north this season when they travel to the Gold Coast to play the Titans.
The Titans have had a rollercoaster season to say the least. Not only did they sack their coach Justin Holbrook mid-season, but they’ve also dealt with an array of distraction surrounding the contracts of their best players David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
To’o labelled Saturday night’s clash at Cbus Super Stadium a “danger game”.
“The Titans are a tough, quality side,” he said.
“Every team is competitive and they’ve got their few superstars in there like Brimo (AJ Brimson), Tino and Fifita.
“We’ll definitely prepare well for another big game this weekend.”
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.