St George Illawarra Dragons co=captain Gareth Widdop is expecting a tough, physical encounter against the Penrith Panthers at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday.
The England Lions international experienced his first competitive win from three outings as skipper of the team when the Red-and-Whites notched a hard-fought 8-6 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs last round.
The five-eighth was partnered by club-debutant Josh McCrone in the halves for that encounter and has praised him for both his composure and tenacity on the park.
“Josh has been around now for a while and is certainly level-headed,” said Widdop.
“He is very composed and we worked well together on the field when he made his club debut last round.
“It’s been an up-and-down season so far overall and we didn’t start it very well with the losses of the first two games.
“We got back to what we are all about in that win against the Rabbitohs and came together as a team to achieve a great result.
“It was a tough game with those conditions but we were suited to it and tried to keep things as simple as possible to carve out a victory against a great team.
“We were there or thereabouts in the first game of the season against the Storm and it could have gone either way but against the Sharks it was simply unacceptable.
“That performance was certainly out of character and we certainly had to review that and move on knowing your focus, purpose, intent and attitude are correct when entering a game.
“We all bout into that against the Rabbitohs and we got the result.
“The Panthers have started well and come away in some unlucky not to get a result.
“They got a good win against the Broncos and there’s no doubt it’ll be a tough match when we face them on the field.”