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Wests Tigers centre Joey Leilua.

Wests Tigers utility Moses Mbye expects Joey Leilua to play with the same fire he displayed the last time he faced the Panthers in Saturday night's rematch.

Leilua ended the round eight match with a four-week suspension for a swinging arm on Dylan Edwards and the Panthers left with a 19-12 win.

While former Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary was seen blowing kisses to the crowd, both sides came together when the siren sounded.

Mbye re-iterated there was no bad blood off the field between Cleary and the Wests Tigers playing group on Tuesday but the final stages of the recent match only added to the rivalry between the clubs.

"It got a little bit heated, it's rugby league - a combat sport with some big dudes making collisions," Mbye said on Tuesday.

"It's frustration and emotion – you put it both together and it's a storm in a teacup sometimes."

Cleary engages in some banter with Wests Tigers fans

Asked if Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire would need to have a word to Leilua this week about controlling his emotions, Mbye said "Madge has been in his ear the last five weeks" before conceding Leilua's motives were sometimes unknown.

"You also need to give him some sort of motivation and get him fired up in some way," Mbye said.

"Joey's a quality character and brings so much to a side. One of his greatest attributes is the unknown – you don't know what you're going to get from Joey.

It got a little bit heated, it's rugby league ... some big dudes making collisions

Moses Mbye on the last Wests Tigers-Panthers match

"He's so destructive with the ball so our focus is giving him the ball early and letting him do his thing."

"He usually plays his best football when he's got that emotion behind him."

The Panthers haven't lost a match since the clubs last met but will be without Api Koroisau (calf) after he terrorised the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium.

A loss at Panthers Stadium on Saturday will all but end the finals hopes for the Tigers, who are languishing in an all-too-familiar ninth position on the ladder, four points outside the top eight.

The talk of big-money players being moved on for next season has also resurfaced to coincide with recent results with Mbye included in the headlines.

"I think players have come quite resilient to the fact there's so much shifting and movement in the competition now," he said.

"You only have to look at this season alone and we're up to coach number five. It's results-driven and you need to be winning games. That's what keeps your club out of the negative headlines.

"Unfortunately for us we're not winning games and that's when you need to look for answers.

"That's what our organisation needs to do. When you're a player on the higher end of the pay bracket I think the criticism is warranted and fair."

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