Griffin not fazed by outside noise
Anthony Griffin has been around long enough to know how to ride out the tough times and he is confident Penrith remain in a strong position heading into the last nine rounds of the Telstra Premiership.
After rising to the top of the ladder in round 12 when they thrashed the Dragons, the Panthers were viewed as the team to beat but they have hit a standstill in their last two matches - suffering a 32-6 trashing at the hands of the Roosters before going down 18-10 to Manly in one of the upsets of the season on home turf at Panthers Stadium.
The Panthers have undertaken a mid-season review of the club's performances, which has raised questions heading into the crucial run home to the finals.
Griffin faced a similar scenario in the pre-season when he was criticised for using his entire forward pack without a break in hot conditions in a trial against a second-string Canterbury side at Belmore, which the Panthers lost 24-10.
He silenced the critics when the Panthers started the season strongly and the former Broncos mentor believes the club is again well placed, despite the external noise.
"Our club is having a great year," Griffin said.
"We went into the Origin period sitting on top of the ladder with a lot of injuries and five debutants in the first 10 or 12 weeks.
"We are developing our young players which is really good to see and the whole team has done a fantastic job to get us to this point in the competition."
Griffin adamant the distractions were not affecting him or his squad.
"I don't read anything into it, I just get on and do my job," Griffin said.
"I think everyone is immune to it. In our business, we've always had to deal with things like this.
"The way we trained on Tuesday night I know that there is no issue with the way our teams focused, we had a really good training run and our young guys are really excited out getting their opportunity."
The fourth-placed Panthers are desperate to keep the fifth-placed Warriors at bay on Thursday night in Penrith.
"It's going to be a real task for us tomorrow night," Griffin said.
"I thought their game last week against Cronulla was full of merit, they had a lot of people out and were very unlucky to lose that.
"They're in really good form this year, it's as good as I've seen the Warriors for a long time which is a credit to Steve Kearney and his staff for the football they're playing.
"There ball-players - Issac Luke, [Shaun] Johnson, [Roger] Tuivasa-Sheck and Blake Green - it's as good a spine as you'd see in the NRL."
Second-rower Isaah Yeo has been given Penrith's captaincy duties with James Maloney on Origin duty with NSW.
"He's just a great club man. He's someone that everyone respects here and wants to play with and play for," Griffin said.