Masked Panther: MG wants Ciro to get top job

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Panthers legend Mark Geyer has called on the club to hand the head coaching role to Cameron Ciraldo full-time next year. “I think the auditions are over for Penrith, he’s their coach for the next two years,” Geyer said on Triple M. “If I was Penrith, I’d be signing Cameron Ciraldo as the first grade coach.” Two big questions remain, however. Does Ciraldo actually want the job and is the possibility of Ivan Cleary returning to the foot of the Mountains still on?

Panthers caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo. Photo: Megan Dunn

Members are set to pay more for their season tickets next year. For example, Diamond memberships were $330 last season but have jumped to $355 for adults for the 2019 season. The club has already sent out renewal notices to existing members.

Exciting fullback Caleb Aekins was named the ISP NSW Player of the Year at the Brad Fittler Medal night earlier this week. Meanwhile, Shawn Blore was named U18 NSW State Player of the Year.

The Panthers are keeping to a similar pre-match routine in an effort to keep their nerves and preparation in check during the Finals series. Despite playing at ANZ Stadium last week the team still stayed in a hotel the night before, and will do so again heading into tomorrow’s clash with Cronulla. Penrith have opted for hotel stays instead of match day travel for a lot of their Sydney-based away games this season.

Penrith were privately fuming that they were not able to train at ANZ Stadium prior to last weekend’s ‘home’ final against the Warriors. Bad weather forced the captain’s run to be moved to the Panthers Academy on Friday with the club not allowed to train on the ANZ turf. However, the Warriors’ captain’s run on ANZ went ahead.

Former champion goal kicker Daryl Halligan was at Panthers training last week working with Nathan Cleary after his rare off night against the Storm a fortnight ago. The course correction worked well, with Cleary missing just one goal from six attempts against the Warriors last week.

Spotted: A number of Panthers Directors on the ANZ Stadium turf celebrating last week’s win over the Warriors.

Panthers Directors celebrate with the players. Photo: Melinda Jane

Sharks hooker James Segeyaro has fired a shot at western Sydney ahead of Friday’s do-or-die Finals clash. “It’s a good lifestyle here in Cronulla, the people are so lovely. I’d rather be here than sitting somewhere out west,” he said.

Not surprisingly a big TV audience tuned in to watch Penrith’s win over the Warriors last Saturday. An average of 386,000 metro viewers watched on Channel Nine, while 303,000 watched Fox League’s coverage of the match.

It’s been revealed that big forward Viliame Kikau defied medical advice to play against the Warriors. Kikau is struggling with an elbow problem, with two torn ligaments causing him a lot of discomfort. Doctors said he should rest the injury, but the 23-year-old fought on through the pain and had a solid game.

Viliame Kikau. Photo: Melinda Jane

How fantastic has it been to see local businesses getting behind Penrith’s Finals campaign? Thanks to the Penrith CBD Corporation, a number of shops in the Penrith area are displaying Panthers posters, getting into the Finals spirit.

The rumours about Trent Merrin departing the Panthers at the end of the season simply won’t go away. Expect some movement in October.

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