Panthers follow Blues' lead by walking to games

Penrith have taken a leaf out of Brad Fittler's book by walking to their games the past fortnight, and will continue to do so for Friday night's do-or-die final against Cronulla.

The NSW Blues enjoyed success walking to the Melbourne Cricket Ground and ANZ Stadium for the opening two games of the series, a tactic the Panthers have used as they resurrect their stuttering campaign.

Penrith, who had four players in this year's NSW team, walked from their Melbourne hotel to AAMI Park for their final-round clash against Melbourne, repeating the pre-game stroll from their Sydney Olympic Park hotel to ANZ Stadium for their elimination final against the Warriors.

It's worked so well the past fortnight the Panthers are now making plans for the team bus to drop them off within walking distance of Allianz Stadium for the clash with Cronulla.

"We're looking at where we might be able to park the bus and let the boys off a bit further away to soak up a bit of atmosphere," Panthers coach Cameron Ciraldo said.

"They get the chance to walk off a few nerves on the way into it. We had four boys who did it with Freddy in Origin and had some good memories of it. So I raised it with them before the Melbourne game because we heard it took Cronulla 40 minutes to get to the ground during traffic. They were all for it. They really enjoyed the experience with the Blues.

"In Melbourne it was a relaxing 12-13 minute walk. For some they get it's a very nervous time on the bus waiting for a game. They get the chance to walk and talk and get the legs moving. It's felt like a good thing."

Like they did against the Warriors and for many of their away matches in Sydney in 2018, the Panthers went into camp and stayed at a hotel the night before the match.

They will do so again this weekend, but the hotel is too far from the Moore Park precinct to walk the entire distance.

They have highlighted a belief that they have struggled in certain away games in Sydney and have moved to change their routine in order to fix the problem.

"There have been a few tough games there that have made us think about changing things up," Ciraldo said.

"We've changed up the time of the day we get together, what we do before the game and where we warm up. The last two weeks we felt we got it right. It's felt really good."

The Panthers have failed to progress past the second week of the finals the past two years. While many thought their recent form slump would result in them bowing out in the opening weekend of the finals, halfback Nathan Cleary insists the season won't be a success if they lose this weekend.

"We want to keep going as far as we can and keep building on previous years," Cleary said.

"The last two years we've been knocked out in week two of the semis and we'd like to build on that … I think if we play the footy we can play we can beat anyone. It's just a matter of focusing on ourselves and being able to play our own game.

"We probably haven't done that for the last six weeks or so, but we've really knuckled down the last two weeks and made some strong improvements. There's still a long way to go."

Panthers press conference – Finals Week 1

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