Panthers v Warriors: Five key points
A shock immediate retirement headlined the Panthers' five-game losing-streak ending 24-10 win over the Warriors, whose finals hopes now hinge on other teams' performances.
Nigel Plum retires immediately
While retirement was always going to happen at season's end, Penrith prop Nigel Plum shocked many when he announced the immediate end to his career following full-time in his 150th NRL game, with his recent concussion woes too risky to play on.
"He's taken a few knocks over the years and took a big one a couple of weeks back. I think he decided that – for the sake of three more games – that he should give it away," coach Ivan Cleary said post-game.
Stand-in captain Elijah Taylor praised the 32-year-old former Raider and Rooster.
"He's good for our culture. He defines the Panthers, the way he plays, he plays hard and he plays tough. No frills," Taylor said.
"He's had a great career and the boys are going to miss him. It's a bit of a shock, but it's good he can go out on a win."
Panthers snap five-game losing streak
After a low five week period, Penrith finally bounced back to distance themselves from wooden spoon calculations, jumping two points clear of the cellar-dwelling Knights, Titans and Wests Tigers to land at 12th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.
"The first half was as good as we've played for a while in attack and defence. To get the try just before halftime I thought that was fitting, to be able to go in 10 points up," Cleary said.
"That was a fair reflection of the first half. In the second half, when the rain came, the game changed a bit. But I was happiest with just how they came out and executed."
Warriors' finals hopes on life support
Sitting precariously at 10th on the ladder, the Warriors' season is in desperate need of reviving.
Falling to their fifth-straight loss, in also their third game since halfback Shaun Johnson's ill-fated season-ending ankle injury, the Warriors would be thankful fellow finals contenders the Dragons lost to Brisbane on Friday.
A Sea Eagles win in Canberra on Sunday will just about seal fate for the Warriors in 2015, a shock considering the New Zealand-based club were in the top four just six weeks ago.
Campbell-Gillard keeps impressing
Exploding out of the blocks, rookie front-rower Reagan Campbell-Gillard scored his maiden NRL try, broke five tackles and made 20 tackles – further proving why Rookie of the Year honours wouldn't look out of place on his CV.
"Reg has been one of the real positives for our season. He's played through a fair bit of injury as well," Cleary said.
"First year as a front-rower, in a tough season when you don't win a lot of games, I couldn't ask for more, really. He'll only get better."
McFadden confused by shoulder charge laws
It was an incident that confused plenty, when Campbell-Gillard was placed on report for... well that's the thing; people are still trying to work it out.
Appearing to have a head-clash with Warriors prop Sam Rapira – who was concussed in the event – Campbell-Gillard was controversially penalised for his role in the matter.
Even opposition coach Andrew McFadden confessed his confusion, in what match officials perceived to be a shoulder charge.
"I know the shoulder made contact with the head," he said.
"But I don't actually know what the shoulder charge is anymore."
Warriors captain Simon Mannering added: "There's a fair bit of inconsistency to get a ruling now."