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O’Sullivan and Sorensen prepare to weather the Storm

It’s been more than a year since the Penrith Panthers have hosted the Melbourne Storm at BlueBet Stadium and this Thursday, the modern-day rivalry will come to a head.

The last time the teams faced off in Penrith, the Panthers claimed a two-point victory, with a notable try-saving attempt from Viliame Kikau shutting down Justin Olam’s effort to steal the win in the final play of the game.

Since that evening in March 2021, the Storm and Panthers have faced off three times, with Penrith edging out Melbourne in the two most recent games, the Preliminary Final and this year’s Magic Round.

Panthers interchange forward Scott Sorensen is eager to face the Storm, explaining that there are some similarities between the teams because each club possesses a rich history.

“I guess they’re sort of like us too, you know, next man up for the job, they’re going to be up for it and we will be as well,” he said.

We're clear on how we want to play: O'Sullivan

“It’s exciting, it’s awesome. We always love playing against the Storm and playing here at home. We’re ready and we need to make sure don’t leave any stone unturned and I’m looking forward to the occasion on Thursday. It’s a challenge and it’s an opportunity for everyone, we’ve just got to make sure that we prepare the best we do.”

Halfback Sean O’Sullivan is confident that regardless of the injuries and suspensions impacting the team, the playing group will rise to the challenge on Thursday evening.

“Whoever plays in the Panthers jersey, everyone knows their role, and everyone’s expected to execute it to the best of their abilities and that’s not going to change.”

“We’re pretty clear on how we want to play,” he said.

Cleary backs strong-minded Salmon as focus turns to the Storm

While Nathan Cleary’s suspension means he won’t take to the field for the rest of the regular season, O’Sullivan and Sorensen reveal that the on-field absence of the star playmaker is a blessing in disguise.

“Obviously he’s really disappointed, but he’s turned that energy into preparing us really well for each up-and-coming game and he gets to run the opposing shape,” O’Sullivan said.

“It’s pretty cool having the best halfback in the comp being able to mimic someone who you’re playing against on the weekend.”

“[He’s contributing] massively, just always trying to guide them and give his best advice. He’s still got energy and he’s bubbly,” Sorensen said.

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.