Masked Panther: Staines set for exit ramp

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Staines set to exit Panthers

Canterbury and the Dolphins are emerging as the two sides likely to grab the signature of Charlie Staines for next season.

Staines is under contract at Penrith but he’s at long odds to stay at the club given he’ll be in reserve grade if Dylan Edwards, Taylan May and Brian To’o are all fit. Penrith won’t stand in the way of him leaving.

The 21-year-old still has a solid future ahead of him but is a victim of circumstance. He could probably earn solid fullback money, which may mean the Panthers won’t have to contribute too much to his salary next year if he does exit. Watch this space.

Charlie Staines. Photo: NRL Images.

May day

The final nail in the coffin for Staines at Penrith was the re-signing of Taylan May last week. The 20-year-old try scoring machine will be at the club until the end of 2024 after inking a two-year deal.

May was always likely to stay at Penrith but there’s no doubt other clubs were sniffing around given his try scoring feats to start the season.

“It’s an honour to re-sign at the club. It’s always been a dream of mine to play for the Panthers and I’m making it a reality now,” May said.

Inspiring debut

Kurt Falls’ NRL debut last Friday night meant so much to his family, which became everything to the 25-year-old after the tragic death of his sister in 2010.

The Weekender covered Candice Falls’ passing in a car accident at Colyton extensively at the time. It’s an horrific story but one that made the Falls family closer than ever.

Kurt is loved within the club and it was no surprise to see Jarome Luai – the man he was filling for – wearing a shirt branded with his name and image at BlueBet Stadium last Friday night.

Falls now has a young family of his own, who cheered him on against the Bulldogs.

It’s all about family for Kurt Falls. Photo: NRL Images.

Early Ivan

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary traditionally holds a press conference on the eve of every NRL game.

But this week, he threw the media a curve ball – announcing a Tuesday afternoon press conference, five days before game day in Newcastle.

We can only think the coach wants to avoid the expected barrage of questions around players backing up from Origin and will instead leave us all guessing until Sunday afternoon.

Youngsters re-sign

The Panthers have announced that Sunia Turuva and Lindsay Smith have both re-signed with the club for the next two seasons. Turuva, who is currently an NRL Development Player, will be promoted to the top 30 for the next two seasons, while Smith will remain in the Panthers first grade squad until at least the end of the 2024 season.


Brian To’o taking photos and signing autographs as he watched Penrith’s win over Canterbury from the stands at BlueBet Stadium on Friday night.

Brian To’o with a young fan. Photo: NRL Images.

Nine’s bad call

Channel Nine has a plethora of talent available to it, which makes the decision to allow Phil Gould to commentate on last Friday’s Panthers v Bulldogs encounter a curious one. Gould is currently the head of everything at Canterbury and obviously has a long history at Penrith. Surely he should have sat this game out.

Rabs out

It turns out Ray Warren’s final call for Channel Nine was last year’s Grand Final between Penrith and South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium, ironically called off a television screen. Warren’s voice will be forever etched into some of Penrith’s best memories – he’s been the lead caller in three of the club’s five Grand Final appearances.

Not all about ratings

I note there’s been some criticism about SEN’s ratings from one columnist in particular lately, with a focus on the perceived poor performance of the breakfast show hosted by Andrew Voss and Panthers legend Greg Alexander.

While I have no doubt SEN would like the figures to be higher, the Sydney radio ratings are far from the core of their business model, which focuses a lot on paid content, syndication and podcasts.

Sully to the Dolphins

The rumour from earlier in the year about Sean O’Sullivan joining the Dolphins next season is back again, this time stronger than ever.

Wanted man

The rumours about Cameron Ciraldo (pictured right) and a shift to the Wests Tigers next year simply won’t go away and will only ramp up now that Michael Maguire has been sacked.

There’s also talk that Ciraldo is in discussions with Penrith about a contract extension, but any deal would include a clause allowing him to take a head coaching role if one arose.

I’m told Ciraldo wants to stay at Penrith and is keen to only take the right job when it comes along, but the reality is most head coaching positions become available in challenging times for the club in question.

Cameron Ciraldo. Photo: NRL Images.

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