There’s no doubt that Penrith have some truly exciting juniors who will soon be ready for first grade.
However what the last two games showed, was that you sometimes need some experienced players who can step in and make a difference in key positions.
They don’t have to be ‘marquee’ level players or cost a fortune to make a difference either.
Knowing that any budget Panthers have will not be huge, I thought I’d pick a ‘wildcard’ and four other experienced ‘buys’ which could join the team next season.
1. Anthony Milford – ‘Are you mad?’ I hear you all say. He’s terrible, not worth the money or the risk but if you could pick him up for $300,000 or so, he could be the wildcard this team is looking for. Milford can play a variety of positions in the backline and in the right environment could really flourish. Penrith could very well provide the structure and stability Milford needs to find his feet again.
2. Phoenix Crossland – Crossland is a clever halfback who has shown plenty of promise with the Knights this season, filling in for the injured Mitchell Pearce.
3. Connor Watson – Which team couldn’t use a player like Watson? He is always looking to make things happen whenever he has the ball in his hands.
4. Curtis Sironen – A tough no-nonsense second-rower who has ball playing skills to boot.
5. Leeson Ah Mau – His value may have gone down due to a serious pec injury, but this tough as nails Kiwi international would be a valuable pick-up.
Now, who would you like to see at Penrith next season?
What caught my eye last week…
How well all the players who backed up from State of Origin played. Everyone from DCE to our very own Liam Martin showed their class even though they played a super tough game only a few days before.
What game I’m looking forward to…
St George-Illawarra vs Canberra on Saturday. Even though it’s only Round 15, Ricky Stuart’s Raiders may as well start preparing for season 2022 if they lose this one.
My tips for the week…
Rabbitohs, Sharks, Panthers, Knights, Raiders, Storm, Eels, Sea Eagles.
The final word…
After two unexpected losses in a row, Penrith may not regain top spot again this season. At the moment, and with a favourable draw, the Storm look like they have the number one spot locked up. Another loss by Penrith over the next two games against either the Roosters or Parramatta could see the Eels and Rabbitohs take second spot away from them. One thing in Penrith’s favour is they still have a bye and a guaranteed two points up their sleeve.
Peter Lang is an experienced writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades.