The bigger the game, the simpler you need to play — that's the message five-eighths Blake Green has been preaching to the Warriors ahead of tomorrow's NRL finals clash against Penrith.
The 31-year-old playmaker is primed to return to face the Panthers at Sydney's ANZ Stadium after missing the last two matches with a calf strain suffered during the Warriors' defeat to the Bulldogs on August 19.
Green knows all about big matches after playing in Melbourne's 2016 grand final defeat to Cronulla before steering Manly through to week one of the playoffs last season, while he also enjoyed a Super League grand final win with Wigan back in 2013.
He has made an immediate impact at the Warriors this season and ahead of the club's first finals appearance since 2011, Green's advice to his less experienced teammates has been to focus on doing the basics well.
"We've spoken about how the bigger the game, the simpler it is," said Green.
"It's still the same game. Obviously there's a bigger prize at the end of it and pressure and a bigger crowd and all sorts of things.
"But it's a simple game, footy, so the bigger the game the simpler the game plan I reckon.
"We've just got to enjoy the week for what it is and play with plenty of energy and enthusiasm and bring what we've been doing really well this year".
The Warriors met the Panthers twice through the regular season with their first encounter ending in an embarrassing 36-4 loss at Penrith Stadium, before they turned the tables with a 36-16 victory in Auckland a fortnight ago.
Preparing for the pressure cooker environment of finals football is a new experience for the majority of the squad, but Green says they need to enjoy the build-up and go into the playoffs full of confidence.
"The boys that haven't been there don't know what's coming but hopefully a lot of energy and enthusiasm takes us a long way," he said.
The Sydney-born playmaker and his young family are enjoying life in New Zealand and his popularity within the Warriors was reflected in him winning the Clubman of the Year at their annual awards night on Sunday.
Along the way this season, Green has picked up a Maori nickname, "Kakariki", although debate rages within the side as to how he earned it.
"He came out and said he was going to start calling himself Kakas," claimed senior forward Adam Blair.
"Well, originally it was Kakariki, but we changed it just to Kakas.
"But he's a great leader and does some great things for us so it will be nice to have him back this week."