Masked Panther: New stadium divides fans

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Stadium talk not all positive

The talk of the Western Grandstand at Panthers Stadium last Friday night was the likely knock down and re-build of the venue.

Many are upset that the west will likely become corporate seating entirely, much like has happened at Bankwest Stadium.

There’s a real concern that with the State Government in charge of the project and not Panthers or Penrith Council, that fans won’t be heavily consulted during the process.

After the stadium is complete, it will almost certainly fall into the control of Venues NSW. What that means for its Penrith heart and soul is a question that will be answered in time.

Expect official announcements about the stadium in the coming months – while it’s almost certain to happen, no official steps have been taken yet towards the likely knock down at the end of 2022.

BlueBet Stadium. Photo: NRL Photos.

New friends

New South Wales teammates Jarome Luai, Api Koroisau and James Tedesco put club rivalries aside after last Friday’s match between Penrith and the Roosters – sharing a solid belly laugh after full-time.

What’s so funny? James Tedesco, Jarome Luai and Api Koroisau. Photo: NRL Photos.

Nado to see out season with Penrith

It would appear Brent Naden will remain at Penrith until the end of the season before he makes his shift to Canterbury. It’s understood that a request for an early release, which would have seen the out-of-favour centre join Trent Barrett at Belmore for the remainder of this season, has been officially denied.

Naden hasn’t played first grade for Penrith since last year’s Grand Final, though is currently serving as 18th man.


QLD legend in town: Former Panthers captain Petero Civoniceva back at his old stomping ground and mixing with fans at BlueBet Stadium prior to Penrith’s clash with the Roosters last Friday night. He was also spotted the following day in St Marys.

Cold treat: Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai and Spencer Leniu enjoying a frozen yogurt at Westfield Penrith last week – looking nice and cosy on the swing seats at Yogurbella.

Gower Dally M recognition on ice

It seems the NRL has gone cold on the idea of awarding Craig Gower the 2003 Dally M Medal he missed out on due to industrial action by the players at the time.

I’m told it won’t be happening – despite pretty much everyone, including News Corp who ran the medal count at the time, agreeing Gower would have claimed the gong.

Deserving of a Dally: Craig Gower missed the honour in 2003.
Jarome Luai with a young fan.


Jarome Luai stopping to take photos with fans at Westfield Penrith’s food court last week.

Huge focus on Eels game

The Panthers are preparing for all of their State of Origin representatives to back up from Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday five days later for Penrith’s clash with Parramatta at BlueBet Stadium. Penrith have the bye the weekend following the Eels match so the workload is not a huge concern, with Origin III not played until July 14.

Happy Birthday Tyrone

Missed birthday: It was interesting to note that the Panthers’ social media accounts failed to wish Tyrone May a Happy Birthday on Monday. Most players get a celebratory Tweet, but things were eerily quiet for May.

Huge TV ratings for Panthers v Roosters

Last Friday’s clash between Penrith and the Roosters attracted a huge TV audience. An average audience of 524,900 tuned in on Channel Nine, six per cent up on the Round 15 free-to-air average. Almost 300,000 watched the live broadcast on Fox League. The game was the most watched match on both Fox League and Channel Nine across the weekend of matches.

The most Super of Saturdays

The luck of the draw means Fox League will have exclusive broadcast rights to the looming blockbuster between Penrith and Melbourne on Saturday, July 31.

It has been perfectly programmed for a likely record regular season audience, with the two premiership favourites facing off. Fox is already planning for a huge lead-in to the game throughout the week.

The match is likely to be played at AAMI Park with the Storm set to return home after being forced to play matches at Sunshine Coast Stadium in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

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