Panthers coach Anthony Griffin discusses his young halves combination and how they will fare against the Dragons.
On Cleary and Martin:
It'll be good to see how they (Cleary and Martin) go. They’ve had a couple of trials together [but] nothing replaces what’s going to happen on Saturday and they’ll be under a lot of pressure no doubt from St George so we’ll see how they go.
On the pressure/expectation they face from St George:
They’re alright [coping with pressure]. The expectation comes from you guys (the media) more than anything. From us and what we’re doing here, they’re coming along nicely. They’re young and the only way they’ll get some experience is to play together so there’s no magic solution. They’re both level-headed kids… they’ll handle whatever is thrown at them it’s just a matter of getting through games like tomorrow.
On keeping their feet on the ground and starting fresh this season:
Doesn’t matter who you are… the first round is about simple, basic football. What our club did at the back end of last year, we’re not going to repeat that tomorrow or get anywhere near that and we can’t expect to. It’s about just getting out and building again – so that’s what round one is all about.
On Phil Gould’s involvement at the club:
It’s massive for the whole club. He's one of the greatest coaches in the game. To be able to work with a guy like that is a real advantage for everyone at the club.
Right across the board he’s a great mentor for everyone here…he’s got a very good understanding about how a football club should run.
On Moylan v Dugan:
Josh Dugan is a real quality player; he’s a real key to them. He's been doing it for a lot of years now at all levels. He’s most dangerous at fullback when he gets kick returns and he can float around the middle and feed off offloads. If we’re going to compete with them tomorrow we’re going to have to do a really good job on him.
On Premiership favouritism:
It doesn't bother me. This time last year we were wooden spoon favourites and that didn’t bother me either. All that stuff is for the punters.
On the conditions expected at Kogarah:
We have to play a really good side away from home in Round One which is going to be tough whether it was going to be 40 degrees or five degrees with rain. Whether it rains or dries up it won’t bother us. We know the task we have ahead of us.
On James Tamou:
He’s a real professional, James. He trains very hard, he’s a real student of the game, he does a great deal of work in his preparation physically and mentally. Some of our younger forwards have been able to work alongside him without him even saying anything he’s been able to help in that way.
Apart from that he’s like everyone else where the real stuff starts tomorrow so you can talk about it all you like but we’re looking forward to it as a group – just getting out there and playing.
On the Dragons being touted as wooden spoon specials:
People don’t like criticism, especially football players and a proud club like St George. I wouldn’t expect anything less than them to have a sting in their tail about what’s happened. You saw last night Brisbane have been copping it for a couple of weeks and they responded how you’d expect any football team to respond.
We don’t read anything in to the media criticism and don’t take any notice of it. I just know a club like St George are a proud club and they’ve got a lot of experienced players. They’ll be at their best tomorrow.
On the Panthers spine having not played together before and how their combinations are going:
We’ll find that out tomorrow. They’ve had a good preparation. They got to play 60 minutes together against Parra in the trial. Like every team heading in to Round One they’ve been good at training and everyone is on the same page but it’s a matter of doing it there tomorrow.