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Sunday, June 29

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

Kickoff: 4pm (NZ). 2pm (AEST)

PANTHERS: 1.Matt MOYLAN, 2.Josh MANSOUR, 3.Dean WHARE, 4.Isaah YEO, 5.Kevin NAIQAMA, 6.Jamie SOWARD, 7.Peter WALLACE (C), 8.Sam MCKENDRY, 9.James SEGEYARO, 10.Brent KITE,11.Sika MANU,12.Elijah TAYLOR, 13.Adam DOCKER

INTERCHANGE: 14. Tyrone PEACHEY, 15. Jeremy LATIMORE, 16. Nigel PLUM, 17. Lewis BROWN, 19. Bryce CARTWRIGHT

WARRIORS: 1 Sam TOMKINS, 2 David FUSITU’A, 3 Konrad HURRELL, 4 Dane NIELSEN, 5 Manu VATUVEI, 6 Chad TOWNSEND, 7 Shaun JOHNSON, 8 Jacob LILLYMAN, 9 Nathan FRIEND, 10 Sam RAPIRA, 11 Jayson BUKUYA, 12 Simon MANNERING (C), 13 Sebastine IKAHIHIFO

INTERCHANGE: 14 Feleti MATEO, 15 Suaia MATAGI, 16 Ben HENRY, 17 Charlie-Paul GUBB

It will be anyone’s ball game when the Panthers head across the ditch to take on the Warriors in Auckland, with this year’s ladder now the closest in NRL history.

Penrith are sitting in second spot just behind Manly on for-and-against points, while the Warriors are one win away from edging into the top 8.

It will be quite a personal game for these two sides, with no less than five current Panthers players and coach Ivan Cleary playing and working with the Warriors in previous years. Elijah Taylor, Dean Whare, Sam Mckendry, Lewis Brown and Jeremy Latimore will all return to their old stomping ground to play against former team mates and friends.

There’s only been one change to the side this week with Adam Docker returning from a couple of weeks on the sideline following a concussion. The rest of the team is the same as it was for our game against the Dragons, which marked our fifth win in a row.

For the Warriors side, Dane Nielsen has been brought into the centres to replace Ngani Laumape, who has been suspended for a dangerous throw. Nielsen last played first grade back in April against the Dragons, and has since been performing well for their NSW Cup side.

Apart from that, Coach Andrew McFadden has kept the same side that beat Brisbane last weekend.

After our win over St George Illawarra two weeks ago, Ivan admitted it wasn’t one of our better performances and said we made plenty of silly mistakes that could have cost us the game. The Warriors won’t let us get away with too many errors this weekend, with a very big forward pack that will hit us over and over again, and plenty of experience in their ranks.

We’ll be relying on the speed of our wingers and a smart kicking game from Jamie Soward and Pete Wallace to direct us away from the centre of the field. Our defence has also been a strong point in our recent wins and we’ll need to be tougher than ever to stop the big kiwi side from getting through.

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.