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Panthers v Warriors: Garner into centres; Walker moves to halves

With their third minor premiership in four years secured, the Panthers get down to the business of becoming the first team since Parramatta in 1981-82-83 to win three titles in a row.

The Panthers could scarcely have been more impressive in their Round 27 demolition of the Cowboys and they head into the finals series brimming with confidence and self-belief.

The absence of five-eighth Jarome Luai had the potential to throw the premiers off kilter but as they have done for the past four seasons they seamlessly slotted in a replacement player in Jack Cogger and barely skipped a beat.

In stark contrast the Warriors rested a host of stars and were outplayed by the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium, halting the momentum they had built up in a seven-game winning streak.

Playing their first finals match in five years, the Warriors will fancy their chances of an upset, but they have to reverse a worrying trend that has seen them lose their last seven games against Penrith.

With the weight of history and a boisterous BlueBet Stadium against them, Andrew Webster's men will need dig deep if they are to throw the Panthers juggernaut off the rails.

A week off and another chance to rest weary bodies is the prize for the winner of a fascinating contest that will reveal much about the premiership aspirations of the two combatants.

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Team News

Panthers: A late switch an hour before kick-off with Luke Garner coming into the starting side in the centres in jersey No.21. Izack Tago dropped out on Friday due to a pectoral injury suffered at training. Tyrone Peachey remains on the bench and Jaeman Salmon is 18th Man. Hooker Mitch Kenny (leg) and back-rower Scott Sorensen (leg) are back on deck but Jarome Luai (shoulder) remains sidelined. Jack Cogger will again wear the No.6 jersey on the back of three try assists and three line break assists in the win over the Cowboys.

Warriors: Freddy Lussick has joined the bench on game day with Bunty Afoa making way. Shaun Johnson has been ruled out after suffering a calf injury at training during the week. Dylan Walker comes into the starting side at five-eighth and Te Maire Martin moves to halfback. Skipper Tohu Harris (back spasms) and interchange forward Jazz Tevaga (hamstring) meanwhile are both good to go. 

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
    Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Sunia Turuva
    Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
    Centre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco Berry
  • Centre for Panthers is number 21 Luke Garner
    Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
    Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jack Cogger
    Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 14 Dylan Walker
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
    Halfback for Warriors is number 6 Te Maire Martin


  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
    Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch Kenny
    Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
  • Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
    Prop for Warriors is number 10 Mitchell Barnett
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Scott Sorensen
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jackson Ford
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Marata Niukore
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
    Lock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu Harris


  • Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Tyrone Peachey
    Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Jazz Tevaga
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Lindsay Smith
    Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bayley Sironen
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
    Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Josh Curran
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Zac Hosking
    Interchange for Warriors is number 18 Freddy Lussick


  • Replacement for Panthers is number 18 Jaeman Salmon
    Replacement for Warriors is number 20 Taine Tuaupiki

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Stat Attack 

  • The last time the Warriors played a final was 2018, when they were knocked out by the Panthers in a 27-12 defeat at ANZ Stadium.
  • The Warriors have not won a finals match since 2011.
  • Panthers winger Brian To’o has scored 12 tries in 10 games at BlueBet Stadium in 2023.
  • The Panthers have won their past seven games against the Warriors.
  • Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has scored 19 tries in his past 13 games. He requires two tries in Saturday’s qualifying final to equal the Warriors’ record for most tries in a season, held by Francis Meli (2003) and David Fusitu’a (2018) with 23.
  • The Panthers have won their past six finals matches.

Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.

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.