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Junior Warriors out to breach Penrith line

The Junior Warriors will have their free-scoring ability tested by the competition's tightest defence when they face Penrith in the NYC rugby league grand final.
Junior Warriors out to breach Penrith line
by AAP

AUCKLAND, Oct 4 AAP - The Junior Warriors will have their free-scoring ability tested by the competition's tightest defence when they face Penrith in the NYC rugby league grand final.

The Aucklanders go into the premiership decider in Sydney on Sunday having racked up 112 points over the past two weeks, but halfback Mason Lino is aware of the challenge the Panthers present.

"They're a quality side," he said.

"They're the best defensive team throughout the season, and they can score a few points as well. We're going to have to be on our game."

Penrith conceded just 460 points in their 24 round-robin matches, almost 100 fewer than the next best defence, on their way to finishing the regular season in second place.

They then had the advantage of a bye in week two of the play-offs before beating minor premiers Canberra 36-20 last weekend to qualify for the grand final.

The Junior Warriors, who are after their third under-20 title in four years, ended the regular season in sixth spot.

They began their finals campaign with a 20-18 win over South Sydney, followed up with a 58-6 thumping of the Sydney Roosters and then came from behind to beat Canterbury 54-38.

The points they leaked against the Bulldogs mean defence has been an area for scrutiny this week.

"It's been talked about in training," Lino said.

"We have to defend well and control those first two tackles against Penrith. Hopefully that pays dividends for us."

The sides split their two matches earlier this season, with the away team winning both times.

The grand final be the last time in charge for Junior Warriors coach John Ackland, who is leaving the club.

Having been the first-grade assistant to Ivan Cleary from 2006 to 2009, Ackland guided the Junior Warriors to their titles in 2010 and 2011.


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