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Panthers keep head above flood water as they prepare for Storm

The Panthers are expected to train as normal leading into their grand final rematch Melbourne after fears the side could be forced elsewhere due to the flood crisis sweeping across NSW.

Panthers club officials held concerns on Sunday that the players could've had been forced to train away from the club's world-class academy this week due to a nearby creek threatening to impact the facilities.

However, Peach Tree Creek settled overnight with the team now expected to prepare as normal despite rain continuing to fall across Sydney's west until at least Tuesday evening.

The squad attended the facilities on Monday morning for a recovery and meeting session but are not scheduled to hit the training paddock until Tuesday afternoon.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was reportedly among three staff members who were forced to evacuate from their western Sydney homes on Sunday due to flooding in the area, according to the Sydney Morning Herald

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Panthers

However, along with Panthers chairman Dave O'Neill and welfare and education manager Shane Elford, understands the trio were given the all-clear to return to their homes on Monday.

The Panthers brushed aside torrential rain conditions on Saturday in their 28-0 shutout against the Bulldogs with a controlling effort built on possession and a strong kicking game.

However, in a twist, a sunny and warm evening is expected on Thursday for their home clash with the premiers.

After becoming the first team since 1908 to hold their opposition to nil in the opening two rounds of the season, Penrith's defensive efforts are expected to go up a notch against last year's winners.

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"We've got a good group who really want to work hard in defence so it's definitely an attitude to go with the systems we have in place," Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards said.

"The coaching staff has worked really hard but in the end, it's the boys who do it and turn up for each other.

"We pride ourselves on that so it's good to keep teams to nil but Melbourne is another test."

Edwards was among the Panthers' most consistent players during last season's incredible run but came up with three handling errors in last year's decider.

The pain of grand final defeat still remains for the Panthers fullback, while several other players have spoken in the off-season of their motivation to battle the Storm again.

"I took my time to process it, I didn't watch [a replay] until we came back as a group," Edwards said.

"It obviously fuels the fire on and a lot of the boys have had it pencilled in and are looking forward to it.

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"They'll be disappointed with their game and coming off a loss will have them ready to go. They're a good side again this year and will bring their best so it will be a good test for us."

Another player who will be looking to make amends for last year's finish with a big performance is back-rower Viliame Kikau.

Kikau was among the side's best with two tries in their win over the Bulldogs but had a nightmare end to his 2020 season with five handling errors of his own in the grand final defeat.

"They know teams are trying to stop them," Edwards said of the left edge that features Kikau, Jarome Luai and Stephen Crichton.

"But they are playing with a lot of belief, they practice really hard during the week and listen to a lot of information. They're hard to handle."

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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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