FLASHBACK FRIDAY: PANTHERS EDGE WARRIORS IN PRELIM CLASSIC

Ahead of the Warriors’ massive elimination final showdown with Penrith at ANZ Stadium tomorrow, Flashback Friday relives the clubs’ only previous post-season clash – a preliminary final thriller in 2003 played at the same venue in front of 43,174 fans.

The Warriors’ memorable charge through the 2003 playoffs – including brilliant wins over the Bulldogs and Canberra after finishing sixth – came to an end courtesy of shock minor premiers Penrith in an absorbing prelim, won 28-20 by the Panthers.

Tries to Panthers backline guns Rhys Wesser and Luke Lewis were cancelled out by four-pointers to Warriors forwards Logan Swann and Richard Villasanti as the teams headed to the sheds locked at 10-all, but Luke Priddis and Ryan Girdler both crossed to give the favourites a crucial 12-point break in the second half.

Clinton Toopi pegged one back, but it was former Warriors powerhouse Joe Galuvao that powered over for decisive try for the Panthers with 18 minutes left. Brent Webb’s 67th-minute try gave the Warriors a glimmer of hope but the Panthers managed to stave off the rally with a superb late defensive effort.

The Panthers went on to claim an emotional 18-6 grand final upset of Sydney Roosters, while this would be the Warriors’ last finals appearance for four years.

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