It appears that the curtain is coming down on the playing career of Kevin Kingston, with Panthers coach Ivan Cleary all but confirming the veteran hooker and Penrith co-captain will retire at the end of the season.
The news comes just days after the Panthers signed 21-year-old South Sydney hooker Apisai Koroisau as back up to the in-form James Segeyaro from next season and beyond.
When asked about the Koroisau signing and what that meant for Kingston’s future, Cleary said his captain’s playing career would finally end after 10 seasons.
“Kevvy will be finishing off this year playing, he’s going to be a big part of our club into the future which we are all very happy with,” he said.
“In all my time I don’t think I’ve seen a better clubman than Kevvy Kingston, but he still has a lot to do, this year as well. He’s still playing good football and he’s just got to come back from the ankle injury that he’s had. There’s a long way to go for Kevvy yet.”
Since joining the Panthers in 2010, Kingston has been one of club’s most professional players in its near 50-year history.
The way Kingston has handled difficult situations including assuming the captaincy from Luke Lewis midway through the 2012 season is a testament to his character.
His professionalism went a step further last year after he was told by the club his services were no longer required for this season. However, in true Kingston fashion he earned himself a new one-year deal to help guide Penrith’s new blood into the future.
Kingston has been missing from Penrith’s line-up for the past three games due to an ankle injury suffered against the Cronulla Sharks in Round 8.
He’s expected to at least miss the next week as he continues to recover.