Grieving hooker returns to face NZ Warriors

Last updated 11:00 01/09/2014
James Segeyaro
Getty
SET TO RETURN: After spending two weeks grieving in Papua New Guinea following the death of his father, James Segeyaro will return for the Panthers against the Warriors on Sunday.

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Hooker James Segeyaro is set for a timely return for Penrith's crucial home clash with the Warriors on Sunday.

After spending two weeks grieving in Papua New Guinea following the death of his father, Segeyaro will be back for the final game of the regular season, which is set to determine the Panthers' top four hopes and the Warriors' final eight hopes.

Besieged by injuries, the Panthers were gallant and luckless in their 26-25 last-gasp loss to Manly at a packed Brookvale Oval on Sunday and need a win over the Warriors to cement a top-four berth.

Rookie hooker Kierran Moseley impressed in his debut against premiership frontrunners Manly, but Segeyaro has been key to Penrith's unexpected success this season and his return is a huge boost to Ivan Cleary's side.

"He will be back next week," Cleary confirmed of Segeyaro, before expressing his confidence the heart-breaking loss to Manly wouldn't leave a last-round hangover.

"It's not going to happen to us, the reality is (if) we win the game next week we have our own destiny in our hands.

"Obviously it was a disappointing result but there are a lot of positives to come out of the game.

"We've got a young team that absorbed plenty in terms of big-time footy.

"We certainly competed, we did a bit more than that really. There's a few things we can learn from that and make sure we get a bit better next week.

"I'm very proud of the way the boys prepared and came down here and competed."

Cleary also spoke about the importance of getting two bites at the finals cherry.

"It's definitely easier going from the top four," he said.

"Having said that, once the finals start it's a different competition altogether.

"I think we'll get quite a lot actually out of that game today for these next games coming up."

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