Panthers try to pick up the pieces
Shell- shocked team must regroup for Eels on Friday
MICHAEL Jennings felt his late inclusion was a distraction. Lachlan Coote reckons it was his worst game in the NRL. Petero Civoniceva expects another flogging if a similar performance is dished out against Parramatta. And coach Matthew Elliott is suddenly the new $ 4 favourite with bookmakers to face the axe.
Penrith players were yesterday counting the cost of a horror 80 minutes against Newcastle that has already left fans at the foot of the mountains wondering if their club can be a legitimate NRL force.
The Panthers were belted 42-8 against Newcastle a day earlier, and every player had their own version on why things went horribly wrong.
According to Fox Sports Stats, Penrith are terrible in their firstround clashes, having won just two of their 11 openers. On four of those o c c a s i o ns , t he Panthers were flogged by 40 points or more.
Skipper Civoniceva said his side had three training sessions to pick themselves up and try to avoid a h i d i n g a g a i n s t f i e r c e r i v a l s Parramatta on Friday.
‘‘ That was a huge lesson for what happens when you want to play like that – what you saw was the end result,’’ he said. ‘‘ If we don’t get our act together soon, that will happen [ again]. It’s all about taking ownership, and we now only have a couple of days to do that and make sure these training sessions are good ones.
‘‘ Sunday brought back memories of some of the Brisbane Broncos days when we had a couple of lean years and started badly. ’’
Halfback Luke Walsh said the team’s final two training sessions had been perfect, and they had even begun fairly against the Knights.
‘‘ But after 10 minutes she all went downhill from there,’’ Walsh said.
‘‘ Everybody’s attitude was off, and we didn’t hold the ball..’’
Superstar Jennings, who overcame a hamstring injury and was a late addition, said his call-up may have impacted on some of the team’s focus.
‘‘ I guess we came in with the wrong attitude, I felt like I was a distraction coming in late,’’ Jennings said.
J e n n i n g s , w h o l a s t m o n t h f a mousl y d e c l a r e d h e ‘ ‘ h a t e d Parramatta, not the players, but the team they represent’’, said he would have no added incentive to turn things around.