As a Penrith Panthers supporters it is rare that I get to see my team play I. A semi final at all. When it does happen, my reaction is a little bit strange compared to other people whose football teams make it this far in the season.
I don’t get nervous at all. Not one little bit. I’m always really confident that the Panthers will win. Obviously they don’t always win these games, but that doesn’t mean my confidence level changes going into them.
Other people, most people, get nervous. They worry about the game all week and come up with all sorts of worst case scenarios heading into their biggest game of the season so far.
I would hate to be going through that. I’m glad my reaction is different. It allows me to just enjoy the buildup.
If the Panthers were to lose to the Bulldogs this weekend, I’d be really happy with the season overall. When you follow a club that had so few winning seasons a semi final loss is something you’d take going into every season!
When the Panthers won their first Premiership in 1991 I was excited, but I was a big too young to understand the significance of it all. It was just something that happened. I didn’t realise that success is something to enjoy to it’s fullest becomes it might be a long time before you have it again.
By the time the 2003 season rolled around, I knew what it was like to live and die through games with my club. To grind through terrible seasons. To wish for new coaches or a turnover of players to inject new life into the club.
I’m really lucky in that sense. The 2003 season for me was perfect in so many ways. I was old enough to really enjoy the journey the club had taken from the worst team in the comp to being the very best. I got my Premiership. Through all the tough seasons that followed, through all the terrible moments the club went through over the following years, I had my title. I could die a happy man!
I guess that is why now I see any Panthers success as just being a bonus. Make no mistake, I believe the Panthers should do everything they can ever single season to win the Grand Final. I believe that should be every clubs goal. I enjoy that journey though, even when I am complaining about them!
I’m really looking forward to watching the Panthers take on the Bulldogs. I tend to think that the Panthers defence will really frustrate the Bulldogs attack. I think the Bulldogs will be flat out scoring any points this weekend, but we will wait and see if Des Hasler can come up with a game plan that unleashes the full attacking power of his side.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the Panthers come out of the gates after the week off. I tend to think the week off is a huge for the teams that earn it. Every team handles it differently though. While you could excuse South Sydney for building a lot of nervous energy over the two weeks leading into their semi finals due to their past experiences, this Panthers team doesn’t carry any baggage. We will only know how they handle the week off when the game kicks off.
We have seen some amazing games of football played over the 2014 finals series. No matter who makes the Grand Final, we should be in for one hell of a game.
I think the Panthers vs Bulldogs clash will be brutal, low scoring and very defensive. I think the Panthers will rely on their unbelievable patience and outlast the Bulldogs in another nail biter!
No matter what happens, I’m going to enjoy it!