Rusty Penrith to fix cohesion for finals

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It's been five months since Penrith made as many errors as they did last weekend but coach Ivan Cleary insists he's not worried about cohesion heading into the NRL finals.

With 16 errors the 2020 grand finalists were rusty when they put their strongest team for months on the park in a 30-16 win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday.

It was their equal-most mistakes since a round-five win over Canberra at the start of April, and just one less than their round-one tally of 17 in a 24-0 victory over North Queensland.

State of Origin disruptions, injuries and suspensions have kept the Panthers from putting their best team on the park for months and, with one regular season game left to play, Cleary wants to build cohesion before the finals series.

The high-error count was addressed ahead of Friday's clash with Parramatta, but the coach insists it will not still be an issue in the post-season.

"It was mentioned, but last week's game, with all due respect, wasn't like a semi-finals game," Cleary said on Thursday.

"Our guys got a bit excited I think with lots of opportunities and we got a bit over excited.

"Probably a little bit of those combinations and a bit of cohesion, too.

"I'm not too worried about it but I'd obviously like to see a bit of a cleaner performance as well (against the Eels)."

While Eels will be missing eight of their biggest stars on Friday night, the Panthers are at full strength for the second week in a row.

It gives Cleary some luxury to play around with his bench rotations before settling on a plan for week one of the finals where they'll play for a preliminary finals spot.

Last week Viliame Kikau was shifted back to the bench with Liam Martin starting, although they've been named in the opposite way for Friday.

The two could be switched again before kick off, while Tevita Pangai Jnr and Kurt Capewell are other options.

"I've decided for this week, but haven't decided what we're going to do moving forward. We do have some ability to change it up, a bit of flexibility," Cleary said.

"Kurt Capewell has played off the bench before, Marto (Martin) has been really good off the bench and now Kiks (Kikau) has played a couple of times off the bench too.

"It might depend on circumstances.

"What you want to get is a strong 80-minute performance and your bench obviously helps you to be able to do that.

"Everyone will tell you that your bench fills an important role in every team's performance and it can be different depending on your opposition's game style.

"To have a bit of flexibility is important."

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