Masked Panther: Trainer in the clear

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Green has no case to answer

It’s become very clear now that the whole Pete Green story that emerged this week was blown way out of proportion.

The Panthers trainer has absolutely no case to answer and the player involved in the alleged sledge, Souths’ Jed Cartwright, has confirmed there was no issue.

It’s clear John Cartwright, while trying to protect his son, went way over the top without the facts. And Fox League’s flagship show, ‘NRL 360’, has plenty to answer for in the way it handled the story too.

Truth is the only one who should be under the NRL’s microscope is Cody Walker, whose approach to Green at full-time was out of line.

Panthers trainer Pete Green (centre). Photo: Melinda Jane.

NRL snubs the west

It’s been intriguing to note this week that all of the official Grand Final formalities are in the city, with western Sydney largely ignored except for team-specific events around Penrith and Parramatta.

The official Grand Final launch, match officials announcement, Fan Fest, Dally M Awards, Grand Final media conference and Grand Final Lunch have all been Sydney-based.

While much of this has been set in stone for some time, you’d think the NRL would introduce more western Sydney events regardless of the teams competing, given the region is the lifeblood of the game.

Nine’s Grand Final response

Channel Nine argues it didn’t snub last week’s NSW Cup Grand Final despite not airing it on Sunday afternoon.

The network says it asked the NSWRL to move the Grand Final to Saturday so it avoided clashing with the NRLW Preliminary Finals and other commitments, but there was a lack of appetite for that to occur.

There’s no question the situation can’t be repeated next year – it was an embarrassment that the NSW Cup decider couldn’t be watched on TV.

New arrival

Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai is a Dad for the third time, with his partner giving birth to beautiful little Halo on Monday.


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A post shared by Jarome Luai 🥷🏽 (@jaromeluai_)

Let us sing

Panthers fans loudly belting out ‘Go The Mighty Panthers’ have been cut off at both Finals games so far with the stadium audio switching to post-match interviews, which can barely be heard anyway.

Let’s hope when it comes to the Grand Final, the winning team’s song can be played in full.


2003 Premiership-winning skipper Craig Gower living it up in Lou Zivanovic’s private suite at Accor Stadium last Saturday night.


Panthers enforcer Viliame Kikau sorting out a fresh passport in the Sydney CBD before running in to his future boss, Phil Gould.

McRae’s Panthers comeback

Scott McRae is back from the wilderness, with the former Panthers ground announcer to MC a fan brunch on Grand Final Day at the Leagues Club.

McRae was axed as the announcer for home games at the end of the 2019 season after more than 20 years behind the microphone.

Scott McRae. Photo: Megan Dunn.

COVID caution

All journalists attending Penrith’s media session on Tuesday had to undertake a rapid COVID-19 test on arrival, with the Panthers and NRL taking no risks ahead of the big game on Sunday night.

COVID tests for journos attending interview opportunities have been the norm for most of the season but are rarely policed. Tuesday was different with the Panthers facilitating testing on arrival.

Popular MP

Recent dramas surrounding Stuart Ayres certainly haven’t harmed his popularity with Penrith fans. Ayres was even signing autographs and taking selfies with supporters at the team’s open training session on Tuesday. They haven’t forgotten who the driving force behind the likely new stadium in Penrith is.

Crashing the party

It certainly wasn’t deliberate but the Panthers ironically stayed in Parramatta the night before the Preliminary Final last Friday night and couldn’t ignore the party-like atmosphere on the streets.

Safe to say, they won’t be staying in Parramatta on Saturday night – choosing more friendly territory ahead of the Grand Final.

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