Panthers Send Ponga & Knights Packing



Penrith Panthers Coach Ivan Cleary has questioned whether State of Origin players backing up for their Clubs is a good thing.

“All our ORIGIN guys played at the World Cup, they all played for New South Wales and we probably underestimate the emotional toll that ORIGIN can take, especially if you lose, that’s all part of it.

“For those guys to sit on the sideline and have a few days off and we still get the win, is enormous.”

Penrith beat the Knights 12-20 last night, despite resting their ORIGIN stars Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo and Brian To’o in a win that Cleary said was enormous in setting up their title defence.

Having said that, Xavier Coates recorded 190 running Metres, eight tackle busts, two line breaks and two tries in a match-winning effort for the Storm 24-6 Manly, three nights after representing the maroons in ORIGIN II.

Melbourne Coach Craig Bellamy believes Coates was the best on the field for the Storm: “Xavier was our best player,” Bellamy said. “I couldn’t put a big enough rap on Xavier tonight. He was outstanding.”

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