Masked Panther: NRL Round 7

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Masked_panther_2016_WEBIt seems the Panthers are in the market for a new forward next season with several players being linked to the club. The rumour surrounding Newcastle’s Robbie Rochow has been floating around for a while (I understand he’s toured the Academy facilities in Penrith) but the strongest rumour seems to be surrounding Cowboys star James Tamou. At 27-years-old, Tamou’s next contract is an important one and while he’d love to stay with the premiership-winning Cowboys, there seems to be little doubt that he’ll go where the best deal is on the table.

Reports last week suggesting the Panthers would chase Paul White from the Broncos to become the club’s next CEO are not inaccurate, but it’s certainly unlikely that any move will take place. Mr White’s recent health issues combined with the ages of his children (one of whom finishes high school this year) means it’s unlikely that he’ll make a move to Sydney. The Panthers would love to have him, but they’re realistic that they’ll probably have to find their new football CEO elsewhere.

Even Jamie Soward is sick of watching St George-Illawarra at the moment. His former club are travelling so badly that the halfback switched over to watch the curling championships instead of last Thursday night’s game between the Dragons and Broncos. For the record, Canada beat Norway 6-4.

Which Panthers star uses an alias when he’s out on the town – and claims he’s from another area of Sydney altogether?

ARL Commission Chairman John Grant was a special guest at Pepper Stadium last weekend to watch the game between the Panthers and Cowboys. While it’s great to have Mr Grant taking such an interest in Penrith, there’s little doubt that he still struggles to connect with the true rugby league fan. Too much time in hire cars and corporate boxes will do that to you.

It has been revealed that Te Maire Martin could have been a Cowboy instead of a Panther. Fairfax Media has revealed that the Cowboys identified Martin as the hottest young playmaker on the market and flew the then Tigers youngster to Townsville last year to put forward a proposal that would have essentially seen him replace Johnathan Thurston when the great man eventually retires. Martin was keen to play first grade in 2016, however, and saw the Panthers as the best opportunity to make that happen. Turns out he was right.

Fans have been raving about the Members Day put on by the Panthers at the Rugby League Academy last Sunday. Despite the disappointing loss to the Cowboys the night before, the players were in good spirits at the event, mixing with fans and taking photographs. Tours of the new Academy also took place and it seems pretty much every supporter had a smile on their face.

I’d like an inquiry into the annual mascot race held at Pepper Stadium. Competitors like the giant soft drink and Boost Juice are simply no chance of winning. When will Phil Gould investigate this and implement a handicap system?

Expect the Panthers Shop to move from its current location to a more prominent spot by the end of the season.

The Panthers v Cowboys game was clearly the most watched pay television show of the day on Saturday, with 276,000 viewers.

Phil Gould has declared that he wants Matt Moylan to play out his entire career with the mighty Panthers. It has been known for some time that the club was in negotiations with Moylan to sign him to a long-term deal. “Matty will be with us for life. It’s just a matter of time when we do that,” Gould said on Tuesday.

Former Penrith Panthers player Tas Baitieri has been doing it tough in recent times and is currently in hospital. The prop and second rower played four seasons with Penrith from 1978-1981 before joining the Bulldogs. He would later re-join the Panthers to finish his Australian playing career. The 57-year-old is in Westmead Hospital following complications from surgery. We wish him all the best.

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