Masked Panther: Peachey deal hits a snag

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Tyrone Peachey’s move back to the Panthers appears to have hit a snag with Penrith and the Gold Coast unable to agree on the terms surrounding the 27-year-old’s release. Everyone is on the same page – Peachey wants to come back to Sydney, the Panthers are happy to have him and the Titans are comfortable with bidding him farewell – but money is the stumbling block. The Panthers and Titans will need to sort out their differences over the issue before June 30 if Peachey is to be playing for Penrith this year. Otherwise, the deal might not be done until the off-season.

Tyrone Peachey in action. Photo: Megan Dunn

One deal that does appear to be on track is Waqa Blake shifting further towards the city to join Parramatta. The 24-year-old, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, may have played his last game for the Panthers with the Eels deal all but sealed.

The Panthers have missed out on signing Wests Tigers fullback Corey Thompson, who is staying with the joint venture.

The impressive form of rookie Mitch Kenny has been rewarded, with the hooker signing a new deal with the club that will keep him at Penrith until at least the end of 2021.

James Maloney certainly has a point to prove as Sunday night’s crucial State of Origin clash in Perth draws closer. With Maloney hotly tipped to be heading to England next year, this is likely to be his last Origin series and he’d love nothing more than to help New South Wales to victory over Queensland, adding to his legacy in Australia. Fittler named Maloney alongside fellow Panther Nathan Cleary in the halves for Sunday’s do-or-die encounter, trusting in the combination that got the job done last year.

James Maloney and Nathan Cleary. Photo: NRL Photos

Josh Mansour has revealed his devastation at being unable to represent Lebanon against Fiji on Saturday after Penrith’s doctor ruled him out of the match. “I’m absolutely shattered and had all the hope in the world to be playing this week but unfortunately I’ll have to wait a little longer to have the privilege to play for Lebanon again,” Mansour said. Mansour’s withdrawal means he’ll miss out on taking on teammate Viliame Kikau, who along with Penrith youngster Ratu Nanovo has been picked for Fiji.

Jarome Luai has spent more time warming the bench than playing lately but he’s expected to get plenty of minutes on the field when he represents Samoa against Papua New Guinea this weekend. Luai is not the only Panthers player involved in the contest, with Moses Leota receiving a late call-up into the Samoan team on Tuesday morning.

Out-of-favour Penrith hooker Sione Katoa will get a chance to prove his wares on the representative scene when he plays for Tonga against New Zealand on Saturday. Panthers forward James Fisher-Harris will play for the Kiwis, while Penrith local junior and recent Bulldogs signing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has retained the captaincy for the Kiwis.

Spotted: Liam Martin and Frank Winterstein popping into the Panthers on the Prowl classroom to chat with students.

Players not on representative duties have spent the week visiting local schools, with players receiving a warm welcome from students.

Dylan Edwards with students this week. Photo: Penrith Panthers

The close scoreline in last Saturday’s clash between Penrith and Souths ensured it was the most watched Foxtel program of the day, topping the ratings with an average of 276,000 viewers. The Eels v Broncos match was next with 262,000 while the World Cup Cricket contest between Australia and Sri Lanka was the other program to top 200,000 viewers on Saturday.

If you love rugby league, a new book released by Gary Jarjoura is a definite must-buy. Rugby League is the Winner is a comedic take on the game we all love. Check out the website www.rugbyleagueisthewinner.com for details.

My readers are often my best researchers. If you’ve spotted a Panthers player out and about, or you have some news or gossip to share, I’m the guy to share it with! Send an email to maskedpanther@westernweekender.com.au.


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