Warriors told Panthers match all that matters

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 16:02 04/09/2014
Andrew McFadden
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BIG PLANS: Warriors coach Andrew McFadden is keen to recruit more players to the club before the start of next season.

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The Warriors will be doing all they can to keep focused, including avoiding watching NRL matches that could decide their fate, as they count down to their biggest game of the season.

The Warriors all but have to win their game against the Panthers in Penrith on Sunday to make the finals.

The Panthers also have plenty to play for with their spot in the top four on the line.

The Auckland-based club could sneak into the top eight even if they lose but only if a number of other results go their way.

However, coach Andrew McFadden said he would be doing his best to keep his charges well away from any distractions.

''We will try to stay away from what happens over the weekend. Our real priority for this game is performance and then we will give ourselves a chance. So the instructions will be to just forget about all the other stuff that goes on.

''It is a big game but it doesn't change the way we prepare for it. There will be lots of distractions and that's why it is important to minimise them.''

There were two noticeable absences from the Warriors' training session on Thursday afternoon with star fullback Sam Tomkins missing because of a long-planned engagement.

McFadden said of Tomkin's absence: ''Sam's had something for a while that he had to go to''.

Also missing was Feleti Mateo who has been brought back into the team on an extended bench after last week being relegated to the reserve grade side.

McFadden said Mateo was attending a funeral in Tonga and would fly straight to Sydney to meet the team.

What was certainly not missing was a distinct intensity and speed about the Warriors training.

McFadden said he had given his players a light start to the week and so needed to test their game readiness on Thursday.

''We will go in with some confidence,'' McFadden said.

''We know the pressure is going to come on, it's going to be a really tough game, they are a really good side. We just need to weather that and then get back in the arm wrestle. 

''They play probably a less structured version of the game and it is quite unique so we will have to make some manipulations around that. They have obviously got a lot of strike there.''

McFadden said he was not concerned about the inside knowledge of Panthers coach Ivan Cleary - a man who coached the Warriors for five years until 2011.

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''We have changed our style since the Cleary years,'' McFadden said.

''He will understand about the individuals but we know we have got a good game and if we execute it that we'll trouble anyone. We know it's going to go down to the wire.''

- Stuff

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