Monday, 20 August 2012
His side might have lodged a rare NRL win but Penrith coach Ivan Cleary struggled for good things to say after the Warriors were vanquished 18-16 in a scrappy affair on Sunday.
Then he thought of one - Lachlan Coote.
Coote wasn't involved in the Panthers' late match-winning try to Travis Robinson, but he instigated the first to captain Kevin Kingston and bustled over for the second to cap an influential performance at five-eighth.
Cleary said the No.6 jersey was looking an increasingly-comfortable fit for the 22-year-old. Injuries forced Coote to switch last month from the fullback role in which he made his name.
"He comes to the game and competes and that's one of the reasons I thought he'd go well there," Cleary said.
"It's only his fourth or fifth game at six. It would be good for him to get a pre-season under his belt. There's a lot of things he needs to tidy up on ... but there's a bit of a future for him there."
Coote was the standout figure in an error-ridden game and Cleary admitted it was obvious why both teams are rooted near the bottom of the table.
The Panthers remain 15th but have breathing space of two points on the last-placed Parramatta, while the Warriors' sixth straight loss keeps them 13th with two rounds remaining.
"It's just good to win. We haven't done it too often," Cleary said.
"It doesn't matter how you do it (but) obviously there's a long way to go for us."
The Warriors will spend another week tending to their wounded.
Hooker Nathan Friend dislocated his shoulder and prop Sione Lousi suffered a heavy head knock that could rule them out of Saturday's match against St George Illawarra in Wollongong.