Penrith captain James Tamou has revealed needing to allay Jack Hetherington's concerns about his loan to the Warriors and predicts he'll thrive with NRL action for the embattled club.
Hetherington joined the Warriors on Monday as a replacement for Poasa Faamausili, who was recalled by the Sydney Roosters after Victor Radley and Sam Verrills suffered season-ending ACL injuries.
Hetherington played in the Panthers' season-opener but has since struggled to crack Ivan Cleary's top 17.
It is understood the 24-year-old can be called back at any time during his month-long loan, which could also could be extended for the rest of the season.
Tamou said Hetherington, who has made just 16 first-grade appearances since debuting in April, 2018, would hasten his development by getting NRL action for the Warriors.
"Jack Hetherington is such a talent. He's one of the fastest in the club and one of the most powerful people in the club," Tamou said on Monday.
"He'll thrive, just in getting those minutes."
Tamou divulged how anxious Hetherington was about the move, fearing he would be letting his Panthers teammates down by leaving.
However the firebrand forward was told it would be his best chance to make his case to Cleary about breaking into the Panthers line-up.
"He had anxiety, he didn't want to have anybody have any ill-will toward him. I ended up just saying, 'Mate, no one's ever going to think that of you'," Tamou said.
"'This is something you have to do. No one's going to think any different'.
"He said, 'I appreciate you talking to me'.
"I thought maybe that's just what he needed to hear."
Tamou himself has a point to prove as he looks to earn a new deal.
The former Kangaroos and NSW State of Origin prop comes off contract at the end of the year and has been linked with a number of rival clubs.
At 31 years of age and enjoying arguably his best season since joining Penrith four seasons ago, Tamou has been energised by the club's youth.
However he's unsure where his future may lie.
"These young boys have given me the energy to carry on, 100 per cent," he said.
"I haven't spoken to my manager or anyone within the last couple of weeks. I'm happy. My manager knows not to contact me.
"I'm happy to leave it that way, play my footy and hopefully let my footy do the talking. Hopefully it'll all be sorted, but at the moment we've got a job to do."
Australian Associated Press