Masked Panther: Rush on for Indigenous jersey

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Panthers is scrambling to get the 2020 Indigenous Jersey produced in time for Round 12. While the new design has been locked in since the beginning of the year, the pandemic shut down O’Neills’ production in Ireland and there was no guarantee there would even be an Indigenous Round in 2020 until the revamped draw was released. Panthers merchandise manager Tiffany Serra and O’Neills are now pulling out all stops to get it done..

The cardboard cutout fans at NRL grounds during the crowd lockout have been a real highlight, save for a couple of unfortunate mishaps. The Panthers have taken things one step further – putting particular cutouts behind the bench on the sideline. A few well-known fans were spotted keeping the players and coaching staff company last Friday night. The ‘chosen ones’ are selected at random.

Panthers ‘fans’ watch on last week. Photo: NRL Images.

Penrith officials fully expect to be back at Panthers Stadium for the clash against the Cowboys on Sunday, July 19 – but any plans to shift the Storm and Rabbitohs games from Campbelltown Stadium to Penrith appear to have faded away. There was talk of the games being shifted given corporate facilities, such as the Chairman’s Lounge, can now open. But Penrith were told on Tuesday that the Storm and Souths games are staying at Campbelltown.

Some corporate partners will be headed to Panthers Leagues Club tonight for an exclusive function for the Battle of the West clash. The $125-a-head event has limited tickets available and is the first corporate event the club has held since the Round 1 match between Penrith and the Roosters at Panthers Stadium.

Spotted: Weekender legal columnist Daniel McKinnon from Complete Legal and Conveyancing watching the Panthers and Warriors do battle at Campbelltown Stadium last Friday.

Brian To’o has signed a new deal with the Panthers, extending his time at the club until the end of 2023. Reports of the new deal leaked out last Friday, but the exciting young winger only put pen to paper on Tuesday. “I’m really grateful for the opportunities the club has given me and I’m so happy to re-sign,” To’o said. “This new deal means everything to me and my family.”

Brian To’o in action for Penrith. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Amazingly the Broncos have escaped with only a warning from the NRL after the whole team dodged the media after the loss to the Roosters. The Broncos media manager, stuck outside the bubble, was on the phone to the football manager in the sheds, asking him to bring requested players out. The football manager outright refused. Apparently it got quite heated. It was always a chance of happening as soon as the NRL didn’t require a media person to be one of the 18 staff allowed in the bubble.

This one isn’t Panthers related, but if you ever wanted an example of why the rugby league media is on the nose, you only have to look at how the Josh Reynolds story was handled this week. After the story broke on Monday afternoon, it was known very quickly that while the Wests Tigers star had failed a roadside drug test, his test back at the police station – arguably more reliable – was negative. Despite this, the headlines for the next 24 hours still focused on the failed roadside test. Technically, it was accurate – but it was wildly unfair and a misrepresentation of the situation. The media need to do better.

Andrew Voss will call tonight’s Battle of the West on Fox League. He’ll be joined by NRL legend Cooper Cronk, who Fox has instructed to focus on the return of Nathan Cleary. Braith Anasta will join Voss and Cronk in commentary.

Have you got a yarn I should be chasing up? Email [email protected]. I don’t keep secrets, but I do protect sources!

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