Penrith are still reeling after last week’s loss to Canberra in brutal heat but even in the face of a taxing five-day turnaround the chocolate soldiers are promising they won’t melt.
Coach Anthony Griffin bristled at the thought of his troops making excuses heading into Thursday’s historic clash with Canterbury, which will mark the club’s 50th anniversary, but even he concedes they’ve been knocked around the last week.
Forced to play in brutal 35-degree heat in the side’s opening round 30-22 loss to the Raiders in the nation’s capital, the toll wrought on the Panthers threatens to carry over into this week.
Griffin was forced to give his troops an extra day’s rest, throwing out his preparation that was already not ideal given the short gap between games.
Playmaker Jamie Soward said he walked off GIO Stadium having lost 3kg and complained the sides weren’t given a drinks break, despite the opportunity being offered to both clubs who refused.
But according to Griffin the one-time chocolate soldiers, as they were known in their formative years because of their distinctive brown jerseys, will not give up despite the trying circumstances leading up to the Dogs clash.
“We’ve done everything we can in rehab and recovery,” Griffin said.
“It was a very hot day last week and it was taxing physically. You’ve only got to look at how Canberra have come out of it as well, they’ve lost two or three players.
“It’s just a really brutal affair and that’s going to take something out of us. We’ve done what we can with rehab and rest but the boys have trained well today.
“We’ve just got to not look for excuses and play the conditions tomorrow night.”
Griffin was forced to admit their lead up had been less than ideal.
“We’ve gave them an extra day’s rest and two recovery sessions, one after the game and one the next day,” Griffin said.
“That’s just short turnarounds and football and we’ve got no control over the weather.”