Masked Panther: Baffling scheduling results in NSW Cup TV debacle

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Nine skips NSW Cup decider

It’s nothing short of ridiculous that the NSW Cup Grand Final isn’t being screened on TV this weekend.

Channel Nine has the rights to broadcast the game on Sunday afternoon but will instead show the two NRLW Semi Finals, which are already being shown at the same time by Fox League.

Over on GEM, Nine will show the UCI Road World Cycling Championships.

Anyone wanting to watch Penrith in the Jersey Flegg or NSW Cup deciders will have to stream it on the NSWRL website or Facebook page.

I’m not sure who’s to blame here, but we should not have ended up in a position where the main state-based competition gets no TV broadcast and it’s clear scheduling conflicts could have been avoided with a bit of forethought.

It’s understood Nine asked the NSWRL if they’d move the Grand Final to Saturday but they wouldn’t budge.

Radio 2GB will broadcast live from CommBank Stadium on Sunday but won’t actually call the Grand Finals, offering a score update service only. We asked ABC if they’d be calling the games but didn’t hear back.

A Nine spokersperson told me: “We would have liked to broadcast the NSW Cup Grand Final live and free to our audience, however game scheduling conflicts on Sunday, with four live games already back to back, prevented us from doing so. The Host Plus Cup Grand Final will be live for Queensland viewers on Saturday on Channel 9.”

The NSW Cup Penrith Panthers won’t have their Grand Final broadcast this weekend. Photo: NRL Images.

Luai’s media ban

Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai is understood to have declared The Daily Telegraph a no-go zone as far as interviews are concerned for the rest of the season.

Luai was unhappy with a piece written by Paul Kent in last Saturday’s paper and won’t talk to the Telegraph again this year.

Shirts on

The Panthers will release orders for a Grand Final t-shirt very soon after full-time on Saturday night should the team topple the Rabbitohs and qualify for the decider. The shirts will land during Grand Final week, making them must-wear attire if the Panthers are back at Accor Stadium on October 2.

On the buses

The club is preparing for a cavalcade of buses to run between Panthers and Accor Stadium on Grand Final Day should Ivan Cleary’s side make the decider.

Given the 2021 Grand Final was in Brisbane and the 2020 game faced COVID restrictions, 2022 offers many fans the first chance to attend a season decider for some time.

A record number of buses is expected to be needed.

In his father’s footsteps

Max Jorgensen, the son of former Panthers flyer Peter Jorgensen, has signed a lucrative deal with the NSW Waratahs.

Jorgensen is currently in Year 12 at St Joseph’s College and has spent three years in the NSW system representing the Waratahs Academy at U15, U16, and U18 age levels.

Waratahs Head Coach, Darren Coleman said: “Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian Rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after.”

Peter Jorgensen (pictured) played 69 games for the Panthers between 1997 and 2001, scoring 32 tries for the club.

Peter Jorgensen during his time with Penrith. Photo: NRL Images.


Panthers enforcer Liam Martin enjoying breakfast at High Street Depot in Penrith over the weekend.

Lunch stays on

Panthers will push ahead with a planned Grand Final Lunch for sponsors next Friday even if the side doesn’t make the decider.

In fact, the club is following the lead of several other NRL teams and is making the Grand Final Lunch a permanent fixture on the calendar for sponsors and corporate partners, regardless of if Penrith are in the big dance or not.

2GB’s Sunday switch

While there was some confusion about the 2022 season schedule, I’m told 2GB will definitely call the 4pm Sunday game from next year. They’ve called the 2pm game for some years now, which is often the poorer of the Sunday matches.

Hadley on deck

Ray Hadley will continue his foray back into the broadcast box for big matches this weekend. He’ll be at Accor Stadium on Saturday night to call the Panthers v Rabbitohs blockbuster for 2GB.

Buzz blocks Weekender

Veteran News Corp journalist Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield has blocked the Weekender, as well as some of our writers, on Twitter.

On a podcast last week, ‘Buzz’ said the Weekender was too much of a cheer squad for the Panthers.

Given Penrith has lost 10 NRL games in three seasons, are on the verge of making their third straight Grand Final, won the SG Ball title earlier this year and will contest the Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup deciders this weekend, all while the Leagues Club has made a strong recovery from COVID, we reckon there’s plenty to cheer about.

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