NZ Warriors target win rather than revenge

A 62-6 mauling is bound to linger in the memory, but the Warriors are adamant they'll be looking at a bigger picture than settling a score when they host Penrith on Sunday.

Prop Ben Matulino says the main motivator for the Warriors will be getting momentum back into their NRL play-off bid before time runs out.

"We're not going out there to get revenge," Matulino said.

"We're just trying to get our season back on track."

The match comes three months after the Panthers handed the Warriors their biggest defeat in their 19 seasons in the competition.

But that result also kick-started the Auckland club to a run of seven wins in their next eight games to lift them to within sight of the top eight.

Losses to Cronulla and Manly during the past fortnight have stalled their challenge, leaving them little room for further slip-ups with just four rounds to go.

Matulino, one of the form front-rowers this season, put his hand up when talking about the need for players to lift their energy levels against Penrith.

"My performance over the last two weeks has been pretty flat so I'm in that category," he said.

"We've addressed that and I know the boys are pretty `amped' to play this weekend."

Coach Matthew Elliott also batted away talk of pay-back, saying his focus against the Panthers was two competition points.

"We have to win games now, that's it," he said.

"Retribution, all that sort of stuff - it would be naive to think that it's not somewhere back in the players' thinking, but it's not in mine to be honest."

Elliott has retained the same 17 for the fourth week in a row, while adding experienced centre Jerome Ropati, who has been working his way back from injury, to an extended bench.

While the Warriors went into the latest round sitting 10th, Penrith sat two points and three places further back, having leaked 148 points in a four-match losing streak.

The Panthers haven't been helped by their injury situation, but coach Ivan Cleary said that wasn't an excuse for some of their results over the past month.

Their predicament means they can't afford to contemplate a loss at Mt Smart Stadium.

"It's pretty much our last chance on Sunday," Cleary said.

"You'll see two desperate sides. What both sides will try to do is focus not too much on the outcome but what you have to do to get the outcome."

Cleary has been able to name an unchanged line-up, with prop Sam McKendry and back Lachlan Coote coming through their return from injury last weekend.

AAP

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