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No heart palpitations out Penrith way just yet

Someone needs to check the blood pressure levels of the Panthers players and fans because 2019 has been one hell of a ride.

After the opening four rounds yielded two wins and two losses, Ivan Cleary's men lost six in a row before turning their fortunes around with seven straight wins.

Senior player and-front rower James Tamou has played every one of those games.

He says he's still standing and thinks his heart rate is fine. But he assures anyone who asks that the Panthers will not let their recent success go to their heads.

"One of the best things about 'Ive' [Cleary] is that he doesn't let us get too carried away," Tamou told

"We've been to some dark places – only two months ago we were there. So we know how it feels and how easy it is to find yourselves back there in that place.

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"We've still got a lot of work to do. Just because we're on a bit of a run doesn't mean things get easier."

The run home does look kind compared to that of other clubs. Four of the remaining seven matches are against teams outside the top eight - Bulldogs, Sharks, Broncos and Cowboys.

But first the Raiders are coming to Panthers Stadium on Sunday.

"We learned very quickly that a team above you or below you can still whack you," Tamou said, probably remembering how the Titans scored 30 points against them to win in round five.

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"Every team is a handful but something has changed in us and we hope we can show it again when we play the Raiders this week, who I think are the form team of the comp.

"They are enjoying their footy because they're playing together."

And that's one of the elements of the Panthers success, according to Tamou.

"I tell you what, we were down in the dumps so we talked about our attitude and our effort. They needed to be there at far greater levels," he said.

"We just really needed to put in for each other."

The other ingredient has been the fresh new faces of rookies Brian To'o and Brent Naden.

"They've made a massive difference," Tamou said.

"They've been unreal and it's not just on the field with their playing abilities but off the field with their personalities. They have brought brightness and fun and energy as well.

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"That has made things easier for us as a team as well. The effort can be seen by the fact we're not dropping the ball as much as we did."

It's helped top up Tamou's energy levels. He is off contract at the end of 2020 – his 12th NRL season – and doesn't want it to end there.

"Now that I'm one of the older boys, I am really taking it all in as I realise the end is getting closer each year," said Tamou, who turns 31 in December.

"I want to be out on the field with these boys. It' driving me to keep working hard. People are putting their hands up around me and turning up for each other too.

"And I absolutely want to keep going for a while yet."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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