Booze ban for title run
The Panthers are knuckling down on their push for back-to-back Premierships with a booze ban now in force at the club.
The playing group has sworn off the drink until after the Grand Final as they work to ensure they’ve got every possible advantage in the big September matches.
The beers certainly weren’t flowing at the Merv Cartwright Medal on Monday night, with even Player of the Year Dylan Edwards knocking back a traditional beverage on stage with Greg Alexander upon receiving the main award.
Mair to depart Penrith
Long-time Panthers Equipment Manager Alan Mair is moving on at the end of the season.
After first joining the club in the 1980s, Mair has had a long and proud history at the foot of the Mountains and took out the Club Person of the Year award at the Merv Cartwright Medal on Monday night. Mair’s departure is of his own choosing.
Members for life
Panthers has gone back and awarded Life Membership to every player who contributed to the club’s 2003 Premiership success almost 20 years ago.
The honour was bestowed upon the 1991 Premiership-winning team but was overlooked in 2003. The club has also awarded Life Membership to the 2021 Premiership-winning side, including every player who played first grade during the season.
The club’s Board recently approved the decision.
Taylan’s dream over
Taylan May’s dream rookie season looks to be over after he picked up a hamstring injury in the win over Parramatta last Friday.
A suspension for a high tackle means he’ll miss next Saturday’s Preliminary Final regardless, but he’s at long odds to play in the Grand Final should Penrith make it.
He hasn’t been officially ruled out and there’s no question the club would give him every chance to recover in time, but I’m told he’s only a small chance to play again this year.
Punters back Panthers
The Penrith Panthers are into their shortest quote of the season to win back-to-back NRL Premierships.
After a $9000 and several $5000 wagers last weekend, Sportsbet have turned the Panthers from $2.25 into $1.80. The North Queensland Cowboys are the $5.00 second favourite.
Panthers star Nathan Cleary (pictured below) has also been heavily supported to win the Clive Churchill Medal. Cleary is $4.25 into $3.60 favourite, ahead of teammate Isaah Yeo at $11.
“The Panthers were brutal in their win over the Eels last weekend. Cleary had a brilliant return game and will be instrumental in them getting to the Grand Final and winning it,’’ said Sportsbet’s Sean Ormerod.
Accor locked in
Penrith will play their Preliminary Final at Accor Stadium next Saturday night even if it ends up being against South Sydney, who call the venue home.
Despite both CommBank Stadium and Allianz Stadium being an option for week three Finals, Accor was always Penrith and the NRL’s preferred option.
The Panthers don’t feel they have any sort of affinity with CommBank Stadium while Allianz would feel like too much of an away trip and an unknown for Penrith, who are yet to play there.
Tickets to the Preliminary Final against either Souths or the Sharks go on sale Monday.
Penrith’s Premiership-winning halfbacks Greg Alexander, Nathan Cleary and Craig Gower catching up at the Merv Cartwright Medal on Monday night.
Former Panther Geoff Daniela with his kids in the Eastern Grandstand last Friday night cheering the side on against the Eels.
Cutting it fine
Corporate ticket holders were only issued their passes to last Friday night’s Qualifying Final on the morning of the game. The NRL handles ticketing for all Finals matches and faced delays in getting the tickets for the match out to the clubs.
Wayne’s deserved win
Congratulations to Wayne Neville from Penrith Brothers who picked up the Ray Stellar Club Person of the Year award at the Brad Fittler Medal on Monday night. Meantime, Jack Cole was named the Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year after a stellar season with Penrith.