Battle for the final spot: Wests and The Waves meet again
LEAGUE: Wests are confident last week is nothing more than a distant memory as prepare to face The Waves this weekend.
Disappointed to lose to Hervey Bay in the qualifying final of the Bundaberg Rugby League after having their chances to win, the club admits it has been hard to focus on this week.
"We had them on the ropes and got so close,” coach Nathan Tanner said.
"It does and has affected the team.”
Despite that though don't think for a second they aren't prepared for today's preliminary final at Salter Oval.
"It's a new challenge this week,” he said.
"We've been training really good and have no injury concerns either.”
After losing their clubhouse at the start of the season and their major sponsor, it has been a tough season for the Panthers.
Tanner said making the grand final would be the perfect reward for the club.
"It's been a hard year with lots of adversity,” he said.
"At times we haven't even had an oval to train on.”
"We have to win to make the grand final and give the fans something to cheer for.”
Not to be outdone The Waves also have their problems heading into the preliminary final.
After already being without captain Dan McLennan for the clash, with a broken ankle, they will also have Robbie Nona (foot) and Brendan Pimms out for the match.
With Zak Bainbridge and Rueben Baillie returning though Tigers coach Antonio Kaufusi believes the team will still be strong.
"Most leading NRL squads use up to 35 players during the year,” he said.
"We've done something similar and other players can come in to do a job.”
After also losing to Wests in their last two games as well, Kaufusi said they can get the job done.
"Last games for us wasn't our best,” he said.
"The team is pretty confident they can turn up and play better.”
The Waves and Wests will battle today at 3pm.