Masked Panther: Panthers prove a winner for Fox Sports

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The fiery clash between the Panthers and Tigers was the most watched program on Fox Sports over the course of the weekend, outperforming all other NRL and AFL fixtures. An average of 283,805 watched the match – up 22 per cent on Penrith’s 2019 Fox League average.

The former Fox Sports News producer who abused Ivan Cleary last Saturday night – leading to the Penrith coach blowing him a kiss – has apologised to the Panthers. The man’s expletive-laden attack on Cleary – in front of his own son – was totally unacceptable. It’s remarkable that some have focused on Cleary’s cheeky response rather than the supporter’s awful language in front of his young son, and his behaviour towards Cleary.

Ivan Cleary blows a fan a kiss last weekend. Photo: Fox Sports.

Talking of kisses, veteran Panthers winger Josh Mansour blew a kiss to journalists who interviewed him via Zoom on Monday morning.

Ivan Cleary wasn’t the only one getting on the nerves of the crowd at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night. Brent Naden also had a running battle with fans in the stands and enjoyed getting the last laugh – so much so that he ‘shooshed’ supporters after the full-time siren sounded.

Spotted: A number of passionate Panthers officials watching last Saturday night’s game between Penrith and Wests Tigers at The Star.

Panthers winger Brian To’o has been dealt a devastating blow with scans on his injured ankle revealing he could be out for up to two months. To’o was hurt during Penrith’s 19-12 win over the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night. Scans have revealed a grade three syndesmosis injury in his left ankle. The 21-year-old will see a specialist but it’s expected he’ll miss up to eight weeks.

Brian To’o at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday. Photo: NRL Images.

Things could start to get a little awkward in media boxes across the country in the coming weeks. A number of media organisations, including The Daily Telegraph, no longer use AAP for copy. The newswire was recently saved from closure and is continuing to run, albeit with cuts to staff. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that some publications are still using AAP copy and quotes, despite not having a subscription. It’s very likely to get messy.

Tigers centre Joseph Leilua’s brain explosion in the dying moments of last week’s game has cost him four weeks on the sidelines. It was a sickening hit on Dylan Edwards off the ball (pictured right) and only added to the drama coming out of the game. Leilua took an early guilty plea after being hit with a grade three Dangerous Contact charge.

Spotted: Penrith’s spine – Dylan Edwards, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary and Api Koroisau – having their own briefing with members of the team’s coaching staff in the immediate aftermath of the win over the Tigers last weekend. The chat was full of laughs and smiles.

The NRL this week confirmed the schedule for rounds nine to 12, with Penrith’s return to Panthers Stadium in Round 10 officially rubber-stamped. The Panthers are heading to Kogarah Oval to take on the Sharks this weekend and face trips to Cbus Super Stadium and Lottoland over the coming month. Incredibly, Penrith haven’t left Sydney once so far this season.

Have you spotted a Panther out and about? Got some news you can’t wait to share? Email me at [email protected] I’m not very good at keeping secrets but I do protect my sources!

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