Panthers name leadership group for 2019 season

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Penrith have opted not to name a captain for the 2019 season, instead opting for a leadership group model.

Coach Ivan Cleary has named a six-man leadership group, meaning almost half of the on-field team at any one time will be in a leadership position.

James Maloney, James Tamou, Isaah Yeo, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Josh Mansour and Nathan Cleary make up the group.

It is not known who will lead the side out, address referees during the game or front post-match press conferences.

“We’ve taken our time to decide on this leadership model and this specific group of players to ensure we deliver what is best for the Panthers this season,” Cleary said.

Isaah Yeo speaking to the media. Photo: Melinda Jane

“This model provides our team with strong leadership through cooperation, which is absolutely vital to success in a team environment.

“The leadership group is intentionally balanced with a mix of positions, age, experience and personal qualities, while also providing an opportunity for future captains of this club to emerge.”

Watene-Zelezniak is the current New Zealand Kiwis captain while Maloney and Yeo already boast captaincy experience in the NRL, with both having stepped up to lead the Panthers in 2018 following the mid-season retirement of Peter Wallace.

Cleary believes the shared leadership model will allow all Panthers players to further develop their leadership skills, which will ultimately benefit the club in the long term.

Nathan Cleary. Photo: Megan Dunn

“The shared leadership model will also encourage leadership from players outside the named group,” he said.

“We are confident it will see every Panthers player contribute in their own way and help create real ownership of this team in 2019.”

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