Warriors off-field woes have Penrith wary

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin has praised Warriors management for their handling of the disciplinary problem that hit the club and expects them to be stronger for it in Saturday’s NRL match.

The seventh-placed Panthers will play their “home” game against the ninth-placed Warriors in Christchurch, with Warriors coach Andrew McFadden recalling two of the six players dropped from their last game against St George Illawarra for a breach of team protocol.

Forwards Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson were among those stood down, reportedly for mixing prescription pills with energy drinks.

Four others – Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell, Sam Lisone and Albert Vete – have failed to win inclusion in a team who produced a last-start 26-10 win over the Dragons.

Griffin believes all signs point to a committed Warriors effort again this weekend as the breach controversy continues to linger.

“I thought, as a club, they showed a lot of strength in the way they handled that, and they got a real good result out of it by beating St George,” he said.

“They now get to welcome back some of their more experienced players, that will obviously be back to prove a point. They’re obviously going to be very strong and very hard to beat.”

Griffin said the Warriors will be further steeled by the introduction of former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry in an advisory role.

He described Henry as a “legend” in New Zealand and somebody who would immediately have the ear of the players.

“It doesn’t matter what sport you’re from, coaching and setting up franchises has similar values. He’s obviously been part of the All Blacks for a long time and has been very successful.”

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