NRL: Warriors injured duo expected to be fit for Penrith Panthers elimination clash

  • 04/09/2018

Rest easy Warriors fans, coach Stephen Kearney is confident that Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Simon Mannering will play against the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.

The duo suffered injury scares in the final regular season game against the Canberra Raiders on Friday night.

Mannering was forced to miss the entire second half with a rib complaint, while Tuivasa-Sheck injured his ankle late in the 20-16 victory.

Neither trained on Tuesday, but Kearney is optimistic both key members will be fit and ready for the club's first playoff game since the 2011 Grand Final.

"We are pretty confident that they will be good to go in time for the game, we just need to monitor their progress throughout the rest of the week," Kearney said.

"They did a bit of work in the gym this morning and spent time with the physio. They are preparing to play."

The Warriors will travel to Sydney's ANZ Stadium for the elimination final after finishing eighth on the NRL ladder.

The Auckland club scored the same amount of competition points as the Panthers, but slipped to the bottom of the eight through point's differential.

The 2018 edition of the playoffs is expected to be the closest in history, given just two points separated all eight contenders.

Kearney said that the start of the playoffs on Friday night signals a reset.

"It's a new competition now.

"What we have done prior we can take some lessons out of, but the reality is that all eight teams start on the same level.

"In saying that, our focus is the same as it has been all year and that is training and preparing well.

"We just have to turn up and play our best footy when it matters the most."

NRL: Warriors injured duo expected to be fit for Penrith Panthers elimination clash

Kearney has plenty of finals experience as a player during his time with the Melbourne Storm between 1999 and 2004.

The former Kiwis coach was also a part of multiple finals runs with the Brisbane Broncos and the Storm as an assistant coach.

The 46-year-old said the key to success at the business end of the year is keeping things as simple as possible.

"The overriding lesson is that is you do the simple things better you will give yourself and opportunity.

"There will be key moments in the game and it's about executing those well and that's what doing the simple parts better is all about.

"The important part of that is preparation and that's what the week ahead is all about."

The Warriors are fifty-fifty against the side from the Blue Mountains in 2018 - suffering a 36-4 hammering on the road, before rebounding with a 36-16 win last month in Auckland.

Kearney is well aware of the potent threat Penrith pose with star players like James Maloney, Nathan Cleary and Viliame Kikau, but he is confident they can repeat the formula the proved successful two weeks ago.

"They are an aggressive footy team when they are defending and they gave very good ball carriers," Kearney said.

 "They are dangerous with the ball so from our point of view it's about knowing what Penrith bring to the table and execute our best performance on Saturday afternoon.

"We have a game style that we believe if we execute right we will give ourselves are really good chance to win the game."

Kick-off on Saturday is scheduled for 7:40pm (NZT).