Masked Panther: Buy a beanie!

Jarome Luai, Mitch Kenny and Dean Whare try out the new beanies
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This weekend is Beanie for Brain Cancer Round and once again the Panthers are getting behind the concept. “Beanie for Brain Cancer Round is one of the most important weeks for the community on the rugby league calendar,” said NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. “The collective support shown from the players, coaches and fans at the grounds each year is nothing short of incredible and goes a long way to finding a cure and tackling brain cancer once and for all.” Penrith players tried on the new beanies on Monday. They’ll be available to purchase at Sunday’s game between Penrith and Canberra for $25.

Scoop confirmed: I told you in August last year that James Maloney was unlikely to play for the Panthers in 2020 and would end up in England or France. Confirmation of his overseas move this week was no surprise at all. The third year of Maloney’s contract was always a safety net of sorts, and the original deal was finalised on the expectation that the Origin hero would head to the Super League in 2020.

Maloney’s departure certainly has nothing to do with salary cap pressures and in fact the club will have about $1 million in its kitty for recruitment next year. Expect one or two mid-level signings for the 2020 season.

James Maloney addressing the media. Photo: Megan Dunn

Penrith officials were stunned when Viliame Kikau was found guilty of a shoulder charge at the judiciary on Tuesday night and suspended for two matches. They were very confident he’d get off. Too confident, perhaps.

Spotted: Our recent sighting of Manly coach Des Hasler on the streets of Penrith has been matched by news that former Sea Eagles leader Trent Barrett was in the area last week. Barrett was spotted meeting with a Penrith official at The Coffee Club.

Spotted: Josh Mansour enjoying the joys / struggles of parenting while catching ‘The Lion King’ at the movies.

Dragons forward James Graham was due to speak to guests at an Emu Plains Junior Rugby League Club function last Friday, but was a late withdrawal when it became clear he was going to be fit to play against the Panthers the same night. Former international Gorden Tallis filled in for Graham, and did a stellar job.

Spotted: Panthers coach Ivan Cleary and Chairman Dave O’Neill sitting together watching the Canterbury Cup clash between Penrith and Newcastle at Panthers Stadium last Saturday.

Spotted: Fox Sports commentator Hannah Hollis enjoying the very comfortable bench seats the Panthers have at home games (pictured).

Several players helped Sam McKendry celebrate his 30th birthday last weekend at a private party. Panthers captain James Tamou stepped up to lead a Haka in tribute to the big front rower, who remains unsigned for next season.

Spencer Leniu has re-signed with Penrith until the end of 2021.

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