As it happened: New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers, NRL playoffs
All the action as the New Zealand Warriors took on the Penrith Panthers in Sydney.
The Warriors are looking to make the most of their first NRL finals appearance in seven years when they take on Penrith tonight.
The Warriors received a boost on match eve with captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (ankle) and retiring forward Simon Mannering (sternum) both cleared to face the Panthers after suffering injuries in last week's win over Canberra.
Both players got through Friday's captain's run at ANZ Stadium with Tuivasa-Sheck completing his first field session of the week while Mannering is set to make his 301st appearance after being forced from the field in his milestone match against the Raiders.Advertisement Advertise with NZME.
Penrith finished the regular season in fifth spot to secure a 'home' final but had to forgo their sess ion at ANZ Stadium yesterday afternoon due to the possibility of storms. The Panthers instead went through their final paces at the Panthers Academy.
The two sides met twice through the regular season with Penrith inflicting a worrying 36-4 defeat in round 17 at Panthers Stadium, that had many questioning the Warriors' finals credentials.
The Stephen Kearney coached outfit turned the tables and sealed their spot in the top eight with a dominant 36-16 win over the Panthers in round 24 at Mt Smart Stadium, before last week's gritty final round win over Canberra.
The Panthers looked to be fading late in the season but the return of captain and five-eighth James Maloney from injury helped them to last week's morale-boosting 22-16 away win over reigning premiers Melbourne.
This match should be a thriller with both teams boasting plenty of attacking talent, skill, size and speed. Expect a high-scoring affair that goes right down to the wire.< /p>