Penrith withstood the Warriors and a twin assault from Mother Nature to emerge stronger for their Christchurch experience, five-eighth Jamie Soward says.
The Panthers players were rattled by a sizeable earthquake on Wednesday and three days later withstood howling winds to see off the Warriors 30-18 at AMI Stadium.
Soward was a key figure for the winners, defying the conditions in an astute kicking display – both in general play and at goal.
He scored 14 points to cap a week in which he said the young Panthers side grew tighter and reinforced their potential to mount a strong campaign in 2016.
“It’s good to have a few days away from the Sydney life where you just train and go home,” he told NZ Newswire.
“You can see how tight we are. It’s probably the tightest group I’ve been in for a long time.”
The five-try performance, including a hat-trick to Tyrone Peachey, ensures the Panthers will be at least seventh after round 10 and chasing a third straight win at home to Gold Coast on Sunday.
They also return with a good story to tell, after most players experienced their first quake.
Soward thought his teammates were banging on his hotel room walls when the 4.7-magnitude shake struck and was ready to give them a blast.
Christchurch locals quickly informed him on social media that the quake was modest by their standards.
“But there were a lot of the boys out in the carpark in their boxer shorts,” he said.
“I think a few had to be changed.”
Soward says his enjoyment this season stems from the sharing of game-breaking duties.
He and halfback Peter Wallace aren’t charged with creating all their attacking ploys, with Origin hopefuls Bryce Cartwright and Matt Moylan both regular threats.
“It’s nice to have some guys around you that can create something from nothing.
“It’s a credit to our guys who are being talked about (for Origin) – Moyza and Carty and the likes.
“They’ve got a job for us to do first. That’s what makes them such good blokes firstly, and such good players.”