AAP Rugby

Panthers have hit rock bottom: Cleary

By AAP Newswire

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary admits his outfit have hit rock bottom - both literally and figuratively - after the club slumped to their worst losing streak in 17 years.

The Panthers' shocking season cratered to a new low on Friday after losing their sixth-straight game with a 30-10 no-show against the Warriors.

Not since dropping nine straight between 2001-02 have the mountain men been in such a dour funk that has now left them in last place on the table.

"What could go wrong, does go wrong," Cleary said.

"I don't have all the answers, for sure. But yeah, we're working away in the background. There's a few things that we need to fix up along the way.

"The crucial thing right now is that we actually come together as a team because right now we're not, and that's showing on the field."

The Panthers' defence was seemingly allergic to tackling, with all 17 players missing at least one tackle each for 44 in total.

Viliame Kikau (eight) and James Maloney (seven) were the biggest culprits.

"Confidence is rock-bottom that was obvious tonight," Cleary said.

And there wasn't much conviction in their attack either.

At one stage the Panthers found themselves in a two-on-none situation 10 metres out midway through the first half, only to inexplicably drop the ball.

In the second half, they made four errors inside the opposition 20-metre zone.

Asked whether he could remember a group of men so devoid of self-belief, Cleary said: "I was just thinking about that then actually before I came in (for media).

"It's right up there. Tonight, it showed that we're definitely low on confidence."

Having already axed two high-profile stars in Josh Mansour and Reagan Campbell-Gillard last week, Cleary was unwilling to commit to more changes.

The Panthers next face neighbourhood rivals Parramata at Bankwest Stadium.

"We've got to take stock and sit back. Those changes were made for a reason so yeah, we'll have to have a think about it, see what we can come with," he said.

Cleary did, however, stand by halves Nathan Cleary and James Maloney, who are under mounting pressure to retain their NSW State of Origin spots for game one.

The team for the series-opener is named on Sunday week.

"They were there last year, they've done the job," Cleary said.

"I think anyone in our team right now, as an isolated player, may not look that great. But anyway, Freddie and the selectors know what they're doing.

"So I'm sure they'll come up with the right team."