Penrith was forced to stage its late fight-back in Saturday’s preliminary final loss to Canterbury minus Test centre Dean Whare, who was kayoed in one of the season’s most sickening head clashes.
With the Panthers trailing 18-6 in the 67th minute, Whare took an express trip to Disneyland when he attempted to tackle Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman, butting heads with rugged teammate Sika Manu.
The wobbly-legged Whare was helped off the field by trainers, and would have been a near-certain withdrawal from the Grand Final had the Panthers made it.
One of many unheralded recruits to come up trumps for Penrith in the last couple of seasons, the nine-Test incumbent Kiwi three-quarter has been cleared of any serious damage, however, and is set to take his place in the upcoming Four Nations.
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