Penrith will welcome any physicality Brown brings – most likely when shooting out of the line at some stage early in the first half at Panthers Stadium – but say it will not get personal as they chase a 13th straight win.
“Teams have tried to put us off our game, every team has one or two individuals who try to get under your skin,” Penrith flyer Josh Mansour told the Herald. “But we don’t buy into it, and we don’t play with that emotion.
“I’m sure ‘Browny’ will try and shoot out of the line. I’m also sure our middles will be licking their lips the next time he carries that next ball.
“He plays hard and that’s Browny’s style. We’ll match it with our intensity but be smart about it. We won’t make it personal.
“We’ve been doing yoga and mindful breathing once a week. It helps you focus on what you need to get done during the week, and it helps you stay calm in games whenever there are high-pressure situations.
“The whole point of breathing is to keep you calm. We started it last year, but we’ve got a lot more serious about it this season. When you loose your cool you lose your energy that could be used elsewhere.
“The Tigers tried to put us off our game a couple of weeks ago. There were a few times they were trying to put off Nathan [Cleary]. They were wrestling the crap out of us, but we didn’t buy into their bulls*** and we did what we needed to do for the win.”
Cleary is one of the coolest customers in the game, as is skipper James Tamou. The only player with a short fuse is Jack Hetherington, the prop suspended while on loan to the Warriors.
Brent Naden reacted to some of the niggle from the Tigers, while Cleary recently quipped to the Herald the only person he would back himself in a fight against was his halves partner, Jarome Luai. Even coach Ivan Cleary is reserved.
Penrith’s only loss this season came against Parramatta when a 10-0 lead turned into a 16-10 deficit in the space of six minutes.
Eels flyer Blake Ferguson clutched at the back of his neck after a tackle, Parramatta received a penalty, marched downfield and went on to score three quick tries.
Mansour welcomed the match-up against Ferguson and his former Panthers’ centre partner Waqa Blake.
General admission tickets for the competition leader’s final home game sold out in less than four minutes.
“Waqa and Fergo are two great athletes, they’re two big bodies so we need to aim up in defence,” Mansour said.
“You don’t want to give them too much space, and Waqa is lethal when he gets into the open because of his amazing speed.”
The Panthers trained down the house down on Monday and have three extra days than the Eels for their latest first-versus-third ding-dong battle.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.