Warriors ready to move forward
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden has said it is time to move on from the off-field dramas that have dogged the club over the past fortnight, and put the focus back on playing rugby league.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with the Panthers in Christchurch, McFadden said he was happy with the action taken in regards to disciplining the six players who failed to meet team standards following the Round 8 loss to the Storm.
He also expressed his comfort in welcoming Bodene Thompson and Ben Matulino back into the NRL Telstra Premiership side, after previously standing both players down for their roles in the incident.
"We have definitely got to move forward, there has been lots of attention around it and we have worked through that," McFadden said.
"But certainly we have got to start focussing on football again and Penrith this week.
"We have dealt with it now, and although there was a bit of hurt there I feel it's going to make us better as a group.
"It was important that the group responded, when people make mistakes they have got to be made accountable and that can go two ways. But I think the group responded how they should.
"It is time to move on and we need to prepare for this weekend."
Of the six players punished for taking part the incident, Thompson and Matulino are the only two who have been named in the first grade side this week.
Konrad Hurrell, Sam Lisone and Albert Vete are all playing for the club's reserve team, while veteran winger Manu Vatuvei is back training but won't play at all as he continues his comeback from a medical leave of absence.
"I think it's fair to say they [Matulino and Thompson] have served their punishment, it's been pretty hard on them," McFadden said.
"They have obviously had to own that mistake they have made, but they have done penance now and they have got a right to move on with their lives.
"I know they are very remorseful and they want to make up for it.
"[The other players involved] just haven't been picked in the side on their merits.
"We had some guys against [the Dragons] that really put their hand up and deserve to hold their spot in the side."
Meanwhile Thompson said he was looking forward to getting back on the field after a tumultuous couple of weeks, which also saw him barred from playing for the Kiwis against Australia last Friday.
"It's awesome to be back, it feels like an eternity one week, but it's awesome to be back and exciting," Thompson said.
"We obviously [did] wrong, but we have apologised to our teammates and everyone, and the supporters, and we are just looking forward to this week.
"It's been a bit different, all the attention for all the wrong reasons.
"I am fortunate for the opportunity and I just can't wait to get out there and rip in for the boys and gain that respect back."
The Warriors also welcome Thomas Leuluai and Tuimoala Lolohea back from injury this week, while Simon Mannering is unlikely to be a late inclusion as he continues to recover from a bad mouth cut sustained in Round 8.