Masked Panther: Staines stays sidelined

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Staines to miss Premiership charge

Only injury will see Charlie Staines fight his way back into the Penrith team for the business end of the season. Coach Ivan Cleary has all but conceded Staines is unlikely to feature as part of the top 17 for the Finals, after he was dropped a few weeks back.

At only 20-years-old, Staines will have plenty of time to perfect his game over the coming seasons. It’s understood Cleary is very keen to run with the best possible back three under the high ball and will go into the Finals with Dylan Edwards, Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o in the key positions.

With Matt Burton and Paul Momirovski in the centres, Brent Naden is of course also in the mix and finds himself ahead of Staines.

Charlie Staines scores a try for Penrith. Photo: NRL Photos.

Cleary leads vaccination campaign

Penrith captain Nathan Cleary has put his face to the NRL’s new COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The new advertisements feature high profile players from across the NRL explaining why they’re choosing to get the jab.

Annesley clears up controversial rulings

The NRL has conceded that Brent Naden’s try against Souths last weekend should have been pulled up by The Bunker, with an obstruction play in the lead-up missed by the officials.

But Head of Football Graham Annesley has confirmed the controversial ‘downtown’ penalty against Souths at a crucial stage of the game was 100 per cent correct. Contrary to popular belief, the decision was made by the touch judge, not interference from The Bunker.

May re-signs with Penrith

The Panthers have secured the services of Tyrone May on a fresh one-year deal. The 25-year-old continues to provide strong utility value for the Panthers and his role could prove even more crucial next year when Matt Burton heads to Canterbury.

Tyrone May. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Look after the sponsor, Brandy

An hilarious moment on Fox League’s coverage of last Friday night’s double header, when Panthers legend Greg Alexander declared Jake Trbojevic was a “Tooheys man” after being awarded the VB Hard Earned Man of the Match in the Manly v Raiders match.

Cooper Cronk couldn’t contain his laughter as he tried to remind Brandy that Trbojevic was almost definitely a VB drinker, given who was sponsoring the broadcast.

Resting players not on the radar

The Panthers are unlikely to rest too many players against Parramatta next weekend despite the result having no impact on what happens in week one of the Finals.

Coach Ivan Cleary feels most of his key men have had stints on the sideline anyway, most through niggling injuries. There may be a few who get a break, but there certainly won’t be a plethora of stars sitting on the sideline.

Nine’s timely shake-up of coverage

The Masked Panther is a Fox League man but I turned over to Channel Nine to see some of their post-match coverage last Friday night. No surprise that Phil Gould and Andrew Johns were complaining about referees.

To make matters worse, they were whinging about the ‘downtown penalty’, admitting it was probably correct but still shouldn’t have been awarded. No wonder Nine is looking to shake things up next season.

Mansour catches up with mates

He may have been terrorised under the high ball and left the field with a knee injury, but Souths winger Josh Mansour certainly felt the love from his former team mates last Friday night. Mansour was spotted chatting with a bunch of Penrith players after the high quality game at Suncorp Stadium.

Josh Mansour catches up with old friends. Photo: NRL Photos.

Beach time for Panthers

With players having a little more freedom in Queensland at present and the weather warming up, it’s no surprise that the beach has become the go-to destination for plenty of Panthers players. It’s become the perfect place to relax and muck around during the week, with plenty of the fun (and muscles) posted on Instagram.

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