Sandwich shop’s breaking news
It was the innocent photo put up by a local sandwich shop after an impromptu visit from some players, but it sparked plenty of conversation and rumours this week.
When Penrith stars Api Koroisau, Jarome Luai and Viliame Kikau called in to Murrays Sandwich Shop on Monday, the staff were naturally excited and posted some pics on their Facebook page.
But keen observers noted a knee brace on Luai – sparking fears he’d done some real damage at a crucial time of the season.
As it turns out, Luai is facing around six weeks on the sideline. However, he’s definitely on track for a Finals return and the club is optimistic he may return earlier than that.
Ciraldo given deadline
The Panthers don’t want speculation and uncertainty about Cameron Ciraldo’s future to spill into their preparations for the 2023 season, and have given him a November 1 deadline to commit to the club or confirm his departure.
Should Ciraldo decide to stick with Penrith as an assistant next year, he will see the 2023 season through – there won’t be any mid-season switches.
The Bulldogs remain supremely confident they’ve landed Ciraldo, but an individual with close knowledge of the situation told me this week that the deal was “far from done”.
Wallace has player support
With Andrew Webster on the move at season’s end to take up the head coaching role at the Warriors, Penrith is on the lookout for at least one new assistant.
Panthers rookie Soni Luke believes his NSW Cup coach, Peter Wallace, should get the vacant gig next year.
“Definitely, for sure,” Luke said last week.
“A lot of our reserve grade stuff is just based off what first grade is doing anyway. He would be a good fit for the attacking coach role or whatever role there is in the top-grade squad.”
Luke also made the cheeky remark that Penrith better tie down Wallace soon before “somewhere else looks to grab him”.
Interchange forward Scott Sorensen has secured himself a slice of Panthers history. He has been involved in 25 consecutive wins, a record for any Penrith player in the history of the club. He beats out Spencer Leniu with 23 straight wins and Isaah Yeo with 21.
Tony and Frank Puletua at the Chairman’s Lounge for last week’s game between Penrith and Cronulla.
Panthers Director Greg Alexander, who also works with Fox Sports and SEN, meeting with Wests Tigers officials in Sydney last week, alongside leading NRL commentator Andrew Voss. The major talking point out of the lunch was that Vossy showed up in a moving truck – which he parked in a nearby loading zone.
Stephen Crichton had surgery on his injured ear on Monday, after that frightening incident involving Cronulla’s Dale Finucane on Saturday night.
The damage to Crichton’s ear was so confronting that Instagram put up a ‘sensitive content’ warning on Nathan Cleary’s post featuring the injury.
Locals love 2GB
There’s no doubt that the Continuous Call Team remains extremely popular, with a huge crowd heading down to the Basement Sports Bar at Panthers to watch the show’s live broadcast last weekend.
Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher and champion hooker Royce Simmons both joined the show live. Former Panther Darryl ‘The Big Marn’ Brohman was clearly the most popular team member on the day – he was flooded with selfie and autograph requests, which he granted between meals.
If you want to re-live the 2021 NRL Grand Final, JB Hi-Fi is currently selling the Blu-Ray of the big game for a bargain basement price of $9.98. We did enjoy this very accurate review of the Blu-Ray on the JB website: “If you’re a Panther fan you’ll love it. If you’re not, then you’ll probably hate it.”
A bunch of Panthers players at American rapper Jack Harlow’s Sydney concert on Monday night. The boys had a great time – and were able to catch up with Harlow afterwards (pictured below).
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.