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Storm on horizon as Panthers aim to end long drought

Unbeaten Penrith are aiming to end a 23-year drought on Saturday and skipper James Tamou says the timing of facing the Storm in Melbourne couldn't be any better.

Not since the 1997 Super League days have the Panthers recorded three victories on the trot to start a season with their trip south to AAMI Park expected to come with its unique set of challenges.

Ivan Cleary's men will need to quickly adapt to the same day fly-in-fly-out routine that saw away teams travel via chartered planes in round two to combat the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.

They'll also need to correct some areas Tamou felt slip away against the Dragons despite a four-point win in enemy territory.

"We've got a very young side but it's important for us older guys to tell them to not get ahead of ourselves and to keep working hard," Tamou said on Monday.

"It's a fine line to not get too excited because we can go into training sessions or games and think we don't have to work too hard.

"If we let that happen against the Storm, the good teams won't let you come back from that.

"Obviously when we played the Roosters [in round one] they were coming off a trip to the other side of the world and had a shortened pre-season and will get better as the year goes on.

"The Storm won't give us any opportunities and will put us to the test. It will really test us out [so] I'm kind of glad we're playing them."

Get Caught Up: Round 2

While Storm captain Cameron Smith poses an immediate threat to Penrith's chances, the side's own No.9 Api Koroisau has picked up where he left off since re-joining the club this season. 

The Panthers have long lacked a creative dummy half since Koroisau (2015) and James Segeyaro (2016) departed the club.

"And that's not taking a swipe at anyone, that's just saying how good Api is," Tamou said.

"He's so unpredictable. He showed us up at pre-season training and now it's coming out in games.

"That shows we still need to be dominant in the middle to give him quick play the balls. He takes a bit off Nath, who is playing some of the best footy I've seen him play.

"Nathan is a bit more structured whereas Api plays what's in front of him. I think it's a case of two opposites attract."

Tamou's personal tale amid bushfire tragedy

Tamou watched his former side North Queensland race out to a 22-6 halftime lead against Canterbury last Thursday after flying into Sydney just hours earlier.

He said apart from when he was playing for the Roosters in the under 20s system a decade ago had he ever experienced flying to a venue on the same day of playing.

"It's not quite the luxury of travelling the day before and having a sleep but it's what we need to do to keep the game alive," Tamou said.

"I'm guessing we'll get three to five hours before the game to prepare."

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.