Masked Panther: Barrett to see out year at Penrith

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The Bulldogs are likely to finalise their offer to Penrith assistant coach Trent Barrett in the coming days, which is likely to lead to him replacing Dean Pay at Belmore next season. Pay departed the Dogs earlier this week but I’m told Barrett is unlikely to join the club mid-season and will finish the year with Penrith. The Panthers are happy enough to let Barrett take an elusive head coaching role, but given it’s a case of history repeating itself, it’ll certainly be his last stint at Penrith. There’s also been discussion about a ‘hands off’ warning in relation to Barrett taking players with him to Canterbury.

Trent Barrett could be bound for Belmore. Photo: NRL Images.

The cat was let out of the bag briefly on Twitter late last week when news broke that Charlie Staines would make his NRL debut against the Sharks on Saturday. The Panthers stepped in and asked the fan who posted the news to delete the tweet, and he obliged. Penrith was keen to keep the news under wraps as long as possible.

Kaide Ellis has been released from the final five months of his contract to pursue an opportunity at the Dragons. The 23-year-old forward was a member of the premiership-winning Panthers NYC side in 2015 and won the State championship Title with the Panthers ISP side in 2017. Ellis achieved his NRL debut in 2018 and made eight NRL appearances in Panthers colours.

South Sydney have signed Panthers utility Jed Cartwright. The 23-year-old will join the Rabbitohs next season and has signed a three year deal, which will keep him at the club until at least 2023.

Jed Cartwright. Photo: Melinda Jane.

All NRL clubs including Penrith were sent a stern reminder from head office on Monday as fears of a second wave of Coronavirus in NSW start to grow. The memo reminded NRL clubs about their obligations during this period, in the wake of three separate issues emerging over the weekend. The NRL went further on Tuesday when it informed non-Queensland clubs that they’d be required to reinstate strict biosecurity protocols immediately.

It won’t quite be a full house but all available tickets for this Sunday’s clash between the Panthers and Cowboys at Panthers Stadium have been snapped up. Tickets were made available to full season ticketed members, and while it was always going to be a tricky situation, I haven’t heard of any major complaints from fans about the ticketing process.

Spotted: Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Panthers v Sharks game last Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for ScoMo, his Sharkies were never in the game.

Scott Morrison at Kogarah last Saturday. Photo: NRL Images.

Easy money: One punter placed a $5,000 bet on the Panthers to win the premiership at the odds of $7.50 last weekend. The TAB punter will win $37,500 if James Tamou holds up the trophy on Grand Final day.

I mentioned this earlier in the year but the rumours are getting stronger that the Panthers will extend the current contract of utility Tyrone May. May is off-contract at the end of the season and while he’s had his fair share of off-field dramas, remains well-liked by coach Ivan Cleary and the Penrith support staff.

The Pantherettes won’t be part of game day this Sunday despite Penrith returning to Panthers Stadium. The current COVID-19 restrictions mean the cheer squad can’t be on the field on game day, and the club wasn’t overly keen on exploring other options. Hopefully they’ll be back later in the year.

Spotted: Isaah Yeo enjoying breakfast at Henri Marc in Penrith the day after the win over Cronulla.

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