Ambushed RCG out for revenge
Penrith forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard admits the Manly pack had it in for him as the Sea Eagles ran rampant in their win over the side on Saturday.
Campbell-Gillard started for the first time in eight weeks but felt the brute strength of Sea Eagles forwards Martin Taupau and Jake Trbojevic in the early stages.
The Panthers' most consistent forward of the season, he managed just 101 metres and was rushed with each carry of the ball in attack.
In a rarity, both clubs will meet again on Saturday night but this time around the losing side's season will be over.
"I definitely felt the heat and haven't felt like that for a while," Campbell-Gillard said.
"Filthy is probably a word to use. We were disappointed with the effort we put in there on Saturday. We looked at it and were in the game, we just didn't realise we were.
"We'll use that game for motivation."
Campbell-Gillard admitted the Panthers were complacent heading into the clash with the Sea Eagles, knowing the finals were a near certainty unless they went down by a 37-point margin.
At 28-0 down with a quarter of the game to go, that margin looked in danger.
"I think we were just comfortable knowing we were going to play semi-final footy," Campbell-Gillard said.
"Our defence was scrappy on the weekend and we take pride in our defence.
"Having a team like that put points on you like that, you obviously want to go out and redeem yourself.
"We've looked at it and spoken about them."
Penrith were rocked by news on Monday they would be without skipper Matt Moylan, who will sit out the finals series with mental health issues.
Campbell-Gillard said he felt for his great mate but believed it was the right decision for the club to allow time away from the game.
"It's devastating not having Moyza here but we support his decision going away and clearing his head," he said.
"I messaged him yesterday and told him I was thinking of him.
"We've played a few games without him and the boys feel comfortable with or without him. He's a massive loss but we've got guys there that will fill in the role."
Penrith's current five-eighth Tyrone May has proven himself to be more than capable of performing on the big stage despite only seven appearances in the NRL.
Campbell-Gillard was confident the youngest halves pairing heading into the finals in May and Nathan Cleary could rise to the occasion.
"You can say it's inexperience or lack of game time but we've got players here capable of filling a role," the prop said.
"It shows the depth we have and I believe Tyrone May is doing an excellent job. He's a young kid full of confidence.
"Nathan's a superstar and I'm sure it gives him confidence Tyrone is playing good football."
Meanwhile, the Fijian international was less than confident injured fullback Dylan Edwards would make a surprise return.
Edwards was named on the reserves list for the Panthers on Tuesday but is considered doubtful.
"I don't know about that one, it's touch and go," Campbell-Gillard said.
"He's doing everything possible to get himself right but it's a short week and Hook will make that decision."