Soward sees bigger picture than his return

Penrith's Jamie Soward (right) and Jamal Idris celebrate victory over the Dragons on Sunday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Penrith's Jamie Soward (right) and Jamal Idris celebrate victory over the Dragons on Sunday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Men in black: Jamal Idris and Jamie Soward celebrate another try at WIN Stadium on Sunday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Men in black: Jamal Idris and Jamie Soward celebrate another try at WIN Stadium on Sunday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Men in black: Jamal Idris and Jamie Soward celebrate another try at WIN Stadium on Sunday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Men in black: Jamal Idris and Jamie Soward celebrate another try at WIN Stadium on Sunday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

RUGBY LEAGUE

He's known as a player who wears his heart on his sleeve but former Dragon Jamie Soward said he made an effort this week to take the emotion out of his return to the ground he was once the toast of.

He said in the build-up to Sunday's match that he expected to receive a hostile reception from the WIN Stadium crowd on Sunday but it didn't eventuate - he even signed autographs and posed for photographs with the Dragons faithful post-match.

Soward played a steady hand but his performance was crucial in the 16-4 victory which more than likely buried the hopes of the club that cut him loose last year.

He said after already facing his former team in round 14, Sunday's match was just another important one in the Panthers' push for a top four finish.

"It was just another game. Last week was important to us and this week was the same. I took the emotion out of it pretty early," Soward said.

"We played them earlier in the year so that was probably more nerve-racking than this week.

"I didn't think about it, I just enjoyed the week. I don't change my game too much it's just matter of getting my hands on the ball and organising a bit more than I did with Pete [Peter Wallace].

"I like to think we're playing some pretty good footy so I just need to come in and do my job.

"This team expects everyone to do their job - the last few weeks we've done that and got the result.

"I'm just enjoying my footy, I'm really enjoying it out at Penrith and the boys played well today.

"I couldn't be prouder of the boys. They stood up, they've got a lot of off-loaders in their team and we defended pretty well all game."

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was full of praise for his skipper for his selflessness in leading the team in the absence of Peter Wallace who suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago.

"Jamie's now our main organiser so his game's a bit restricted in that sense," Cleary said.

"Before Pete used to do most of the organising but he [Soward] understands that's the job now and full credit to him because the last couple of weeks he's been really good not just organising but leading the boys as well.

"He's very important to our club."

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