Panthers warn Cobbo about his Luai 'grub' jibe
Penrith players have warned Selwyn Cobbo he has risked poking the bear by labelling Jarome Luai a "grub", claiming their star five-eighth will thrive on the looming personal showdown.
Cobbo raised eyebrows in the off-season when he hit out at Luai, during the same podcast where the Brisbane star stated Kevin Walters was not a good coach.
In the Back of the 135 podcast, Cobbo twice labelled Luai a "grub", upset over the fact the NSW stood over him when he was knocked out in State of Origin last year.
Those comments were passed onto Luai last week ahead of the round-one clash with Brisbane.
And while he is insistent he did not know Cobbo was knocked out at the time in Origin, Luai has told the centre-turned-fullback to bring it on.
Penrith players, including co-captain Isaah Yeo, are adamant that will bring out the best in Luai.
While they doubt the playmaker has lost any sleep over the comments, they expect it will help Luai rise to the occasion on Friday night against the Broncos.
"I dare say the comments would have helped him," Yeo told AAP.
"I feel like he'll be (having a bit to say) as well. And to be fair, when he's at his best he's often doing that.
"But it's not worrying us. Romi has said it's not worrying him. But it's a good thing because it helps build a bit of excitement around the game."
Teammate Scott Sorenson said Luai would not have been offended, but agreed it could play into the 26-year-old's hands.
"It's water off a duck's back for Romi," Sorenson said.
"If there's a challenge put in front of him, he's all for it. He doesn't care, if you put that on me, let's go. Bring it on.
"If that gets him excited and gets him going, then sweet as. We've got his back."
Penrith are aware a greater battle than Luai and Cobbo looms this season.
They are adamant they will be able to replace Apisai Koroisau and Viliame Kikau with Mitch Kenny and Luke Garner at hooker and second-row, but expect to be more targeted as two-time premiers.
It comes as Parramatta legend Brett Kenny warned the Panthers life would only get harder this year, as they try to become the first team since his Eels of the early 1980s to win three straight titles.
"If you weren't a target before, we definitely are now," Yeo said.
"But I feel like what we do well is prepare well each week. Over the past three or four years, that's been really good.
"We respect each team a lot, regardless of where you are sitting on the table. That might not be portrayed in the media, but we do.
"That's the challenge, making sure you do that week in, week out and giving yourself opportunities to win games."