Masked Panther: Cleary’s big call

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Nathan Cleary will make a decision on his future in November, once what has become a very busy season for the 20-year-old is done and dusted. Cleary is not only set to lead Penrith’s charge towards September but now has his hands full with the playmaking duties for NSW during the Origin series. The last thing he needs is contract negotiations on his mind, especially given he already has a deal for 2019. The Panthers remain very confident of re-signing Cleary but the interest from elsewhere is obviously very high.

Talking of Cleary, how silly is News Limited’s current interest in his love life? Amateur and silly reporting from The Daily Telegraph – which included a suggestion that he could hook up with a team mate’s ex-fiance – teamed up with a tacky ‘Bachelor’-style concept on Fox League is just embarrassing. Cleary should distance himself from such garbage.

Peter Wallace is hinting at retirement but can’t quite bring himself to confirm it just yet, despite a bit of speculation around his future doing the rounds at the moment. As I revealed earlier this year, Wallace will definitely call it quits at the end of the season. He has no plans of playing on in England and will stay with Penrith, most likely in a coaching capacity in the lower grades. He is really struggling at the moment to get back onto the field due to a shoulder problem.

Peter Wallace. Photo: Megan Dunn

Sam McKendry is determined to play in the NRL again and is certainly going through the hard yards to make it happen. Rugby league’s unluckiest forward requires two surgeries on his dodgy knee – one to prepare the knee for another reconstruction and then the major surgery itself. The 28-year-old was spotted in the gym at the Panthers Academy on Monday, doing what he can to stay fit.

Talking of surgery, recently re-signed winger Josh Mansour has taken the opportunity to undergo minor ankle surgery while he’s recovering from the facial injury he suffered earlier this year. Mansour got his ankle cleaned out and is on track for his return in less than eight weeks – just in time for the Finals.

Dallin announced the news on Instagram

Scoop confirmed: I told you a little while ago that yet another little one was being added to the Panthers’ baby boom. It was confirmed this week that fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and his wife Purdy are expecting their second child – a girl – in October.

Spotted: Panthers forward Isaah Yeo grabbing a bite to eat at Product of Italy on Henry Street on Monday night.

Panthers officials were hopeful of cracking 20,000 members for the 2018 season this week. They were only a handful short on Monday.

Former Penrith forward Matt Adamson has been named as the interim coach of the Fiji Bati national side. Adamson will take charge of the team for the one-off test against Papua New Guinea on June 23 at Campbelltown. It’s not known if the former NSW Origin forward will apply for the gig long-term.

Spotted: James Maloney taking a break from Origin camp to watch his son play soccer at Andromeda Oval in Cranebrook last weekend.

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