David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Mateo in for clash at Penrith

Feleti Mateo of the Warriors looks to beat the Sharks defense. Photo / Getty Images
Feleti Mateo of the Warriors looks to beat the Sharks defense. Photo / Getty Images

The Warriors have called upon the enigmatic ball-playing talents of Feleti Mateo for Sunday's must-win final round clash at Penrith.

In the only change to the line-up that thrashed the Titans 42-0, Mateo returns to an extended bench after a strong showing for the Warriors' NSW Cup side against the North Sydney Bears on Sunday.

"He really made a statement there, and that's what he needed to do," coach Andrew McFadden said.

Centre Dominique Peyroux will make a fourth appearance for the year on the back of an energetic try-scoring display against the Titans, after being recalled from a three-month stint in the second-tier competition.

"He was terrific and his left-side defence, his talk and his enthusiasm was great," said McFadden.

The ninth-placed Warriors need a win to assure them of a spot in the top eight and the Panthers are desperate to secure their place in the top four and an extra finals life. A loss could see them drop as low as seventh, while the Warriors could lose and still scrape in to the eight if other results go their way.

The Warriors have won three of their past five games at Penrith since 2009, but were thrashed 62-6 in their last visit in the 2013 season.

The Panthers suffered from inconsistent form through the back half of the year, going down to the Warriors 30-16 in their round 16 encounter at Mt Smart Stadium and losing four more matches since round 19.

Warriors v Panthers
Sportingbet Stadium,
4pm Sunday
Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dominique Peyroux, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering (c), Sione Lousi.
Interchange: Sam Rapira, Suaia Matagi, Jayson Bukuya, Feleti Mateo

- NZ Herald

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