It's not all beer and skittles: Cleary
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary says his class of rookies will benefit from Monday night's 30-10 loss to North Queensland.
While the Panthers could've felt aggrieved by three on-field decisions being overturned against them, a calm Cleary took a big-picture approach to their luckless defeat.
"It's not quite going our way at the moment. I thought there was actually a few things we did better tonight. I didn't feel like they were 20 points better, put it that way," he said post-game.
"It's just not quite bouncing our way. We conceded tries that we shouldn't have conceded – things like that, and some pretty big errors at the wrong time and wrong place.
"For our guys, a lot of young guys in our team, they're just going through a little patch at the moment, and finding out that it's not all beer and skittles."
Debutant Waqa Blake got his first taste of the NRL against the Cowboys, while teammates Isaah Yeo, Apisai Koroisau and Bryce Cartwright are all in their second seasons in first grade.
The 21-year-old Perth product came into the side at the expensive of Jamal Idris, whose inevitable move to the second-row was fast-tracked by pre-game injury to Sika Manu.
Asked whether the shift could be a permanent one, Cleary said: "Possibly. I think we had five out of the winning NYC team from two years ago. George Jennings has also played, so that's six. That's a lot.
"So we do have a young team. They're finding out... last year a lot of them played in winning games and it was all rosy. This year it's all part of the journey. It'll be good for them, and they'll be better for it," he said.
"... It won't hurt a lot of our fellas to go through games like that. That's all part of the long season. It's up to us now to bounce back and work hard out of this. I'm sure things will turn around for us if we do that."
Cleary said he had issue with the three on-field decisions overturned by the video referees, but remained diplomatic when discussing the officials.
"We've had a few of these now in the last few weeks. Sometimes it just doesn't bounce your way. I'm sure it will, if we just keep hanging in there. We've just got to fight through this little patch. All of a sudden things will change for us," he said.
Cleary also believed Manu should "be available" for next Saturday's night encounter with Manly, however he was unsure on the status of centre Dean Whare, who exited the game in the second half with a hamstring problem and never returned.