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Griffin backs Moylan as Penrith captain

NZN 15/04/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Penrith NRL coach Anthony Griffin admits embattled skipper Matt Moylan is frustrated with his form but hasn't asked to be replaced as captain.

Moylan's leadership has been under the microscope since being dropped last week to reserve grade for being one of three players to breach an alcohol curfew a fortnight ago.

But Griffin emphatically denied suggestions his star fullback had requested to be relieved of the responsibilities and backed Moylan to return to his best.

"I talk to Matt all the time and there's been no big meetings or anything like that other than what we normally do," Griffin said ahead of Sunday's clash with Cronulla.

"He understands the standards of the club and him and I have got a good understanding.

"There's been no big roundtable meetings about going forward. He's our captain tomorrow and looking forward to him being out there."

Griffin conceded Moylan was angered by his output for the team so far this year, having led the Panthers to just two wins from their opening six games.

"I think he's more frustrated at the moment with his own performances," Griffin said.

"If you look through history, a lot of young captains over the years - some of the immortals of our game - have had different periods of their careers where they haven't got it quite right.

"I understand that and Matt understands that."

Asked what his advice was for Moylan this week, Griffin said: "Just to believe in himself - and be resilient.

"Every time you get a tough time in life, you get a choice how to approach it. If he keeps his head down and keeps working, I'm sure he'll get back to his best form on the field.

"And that's the main thing. We're not solving world peace here - we're a football club. Every now and again, you have times where it's not going to go right."

Penrith's chances of upsetting the defending premiers were dealt a blow after Griffin confirmed second-rower Bryce Cartwright's return from an ankle injury had been delayed another week.

However, Tyrone Peachey (ribs) is a certain starter in the centres, as is second-rower James Fisher-Harris (eye socket).

For Cronulla, utility Fa'amanu Brown is likely to force his way from the extended bench into the 17 after a broken arm to mid-season signing James Segeyaro.

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Cronulla have won seven of the past eight meetings with Penrith - six of them decided by eight points or less

* Penrith are chasing their 500th win, in their 1185th match (42.1 per cent record)

* Penrith are missing the most tackles (32.5 per game), conceding the most offloads (11.7 each match) and making the third equal-most errors (12 per game)

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