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Pool Red: Panthers poised

Pool Red: Panthers poised

The calming influence of coach Ivan Cleary shapes as Penrith's secret ingredient to Nines success as the Panthers face off against the Rabbitohs to go through Pool Red undefeated.

Eto Nabuli scored his first try as a Panther in his side's 14-11 win over Melbourne in the opening round and then scored two more as Penrith easily accounted for the Dragons in their second game to all but wrap up a spot in the quarter-finals.

Kiwi utility Lewis Brown conceded that their approach was frantic first up but some wise words from Cleary delivered a more polished performance in the final game of day one.

"We all learnt a lot out of that first game," Brown said. "We probably panicked a bit in attack and everyone's a bit frantic. We seemed a bit calmer in that [second] game and everyone held their positions and let the ball move around a bit.

"When you're trying to play as individuals that's when it tends to come unstuck. It's a team game and I thought in the Dragons game we really stuck to our format that the coach gave us, a very simple game plan, and it worked for us.

"As the tournament goes on and the more people play the more they are going to understand the game and know what comes naturally with the basics of it. I think you'll see a lot more structured footy [on Sunday]."

The Rabbitohs looked good in their opening 23-4 win over the Dragons but Will Chambers was inspirational for the Storm as they bounced back from an earlier defeat to Penrith with an 18-12 win over South Sydney.

Although currently second in Pool Red on points differential, South Sydney will know whether their clash with the Panthers at 3pm is a must-win based on the result of the Storm-Dragons clash at 2.35pm.

Pool Red: Panthers 4 (+18), Rabbitohs 2 (+13), Storm 2 (+3), Dragons 0 (-33)

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