Lightning strikes twice for Panthers
The Penrith Panthers sense of déjà vu extended to their halftime speeches against South Sydney as they recovered from a 14-0 deficit to claim an unlikely victory for the second straight week.
On Saturday the mercury pushed 35 degrees and Penrith fumbled and stumbled their way through an underwhelming first 40 in front of their home fans - just as they did against Parramatta six days earlier.
And with slightly less polish but the two competition points all the same, the Panthers stormed home after the break without conceding a point.
Skipper Peter Wallace revealed afterwards that the 24-14 comeback win over the Eels was discussed in the sheds with the Rabbitohs on track for their first win of 2018.
''It was a bit of a carbon copy being down at halftime, but we knew if we could get our fair share of ball in the second half we'd give ourselves a shot,'' Wallace said.
''We didnt help ourselves with turnovers and penalties and we obviously can't do that every week.''
Coach Anthony Griffin admits his side can ill-afford to keep putting itself behind the eight ball, as was a common occurrence last year.
But given the pre-season rumblings of discontent around his playing group, successive games in brutal Western Sydney heat and the spirited second half fightbacks, his praise for the Panthers' resilience held serious water.
Match: Panthers vs Rabbitohs
Venue: Panthers Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
''The first couple of weeks, being down like that, you don't want to be but if we were losing and not showing much fight it'd be more of an issue,'' Griffin said.
''But the fact that we can get ourselves back into the game, they are a really mentally tough group that can overcome those disappointments early.
''We are confident in our ability and I thought we were always going to get our chance and when we did we took it.
''We don’t want to be down like that, but the positive is we are showing fight.''
Veteran prop Sam McKendry sent a scare through the club and league land in general when he stayed down clutching at the same knee that has seen two ACL ruptures in the past two years.
In promising signs the Kiwi prop eventually played on through the knock, but will be sent for scans over the weekend as a precaution.
Fellow fringe forward Tim Browne was also hospitalised after suffering a spleen injury in the NSW InTrust Super Cup curtain raiser clash against North Sydney.
Browne was taken from the stadium in an ambulance with an update on his condition to come from the club on Sunday.