The Panthers did as expected when they accounted for the Warriors last week, but it was no doubt a little too close for comfort for coach Ivan Cleary.
After performing at such a high level for so long a let-down was probably on the cards, but wet weather is always a great leveller and the Warriors deserve a lot of credit for sticking to their guns and keeping the competition leaders under pressure.
Cleary will be banking on a more polished performance on Friday night against the hot-and-cold Sharks.
Cronulla had to work for everything in last week's less-than-convincing win over the Titans and need to raise the bar if they are going to upstage the Panthers in enemy territory.
Match: Panthers v Sharks
Round 15 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Panthers: Penrith will start 1-17 after Mitch Kenny and Billy Burns were the last two players omitted from the squad. Brian To'o's return from an ankle injury delayed at least another week.
To'o and Matt Burton were omitted from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off. The Panthers have scored the first try in 13 consecutive games.
Sharks: In big news for the Sharks, halfback Shaun Johnson - who had been battling a groin injury - is out, with Braydon Trindall (No.20) to start at halfback. Johnson and Teig Wilton were the two players left out an hour before the match.
In late positional changes, Toby Rudolf will start at prop, Scott Sorensen at lock and Braden Hamlin-Uele from the interchange bench.
Briton Nikora and Bryson Goodwin dropped off the reserves list on Thursday night. Winger Sione Katoa has scored the most tries by a Sharks player (13) after 14 rounds since Andrew Ettingshausen in 1988.
Match: Panthers v Sharks
Round 15 -
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan EdwardsFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh MansourWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Tyrone MayCentre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen CrichtonCentre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brent NadenWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Sharks is number 20 Braydon Trindall
Prop for Panthers is number 8 James TamouProp for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Siosifa Talakai
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Sharks is number 15 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Daine LaurieInterchange for Sharks is number 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Spencer LeniuInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Connor Tracey
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses LeotaInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Zane TetevanoInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Royce Hunt
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Gavin Badger
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Jarome Luai v Matt Moylan. Luai has cemented the five-eighth spot at Penrith and formed a lethal 1-2 punch with blossoming star Nathan Cleary.
The 23-year-old has hardly put a foot wrong in 2020, silencing the doubters who thought he wouldn't be able to fill James Maloney's big shoes. Moylan has battled injuries all season and is still nowhere near his best. He would love to get a win against his former club.
It was an even 1-1 split between the Panthers and Sharks last season. Cronulla fought back from a 14-0 half-time deficit on home turf to beat the Panthers 24-20 in round six, while Penrith prevailed 26-20 in the re-match at Panthers Stadium in round 21.
Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary scored a try in each match and has been one of the NRL's standouts in 2020.