Panthers party hard after epic win
Nobody can deny that the Panthers know how to party. The celebrations in the dressing room after the game were absolutely epic as the reality of what was achieved started to set in.
The team didn’t arrive back in Penrith until well after 1am, joining a private function at the EVAN Theatre. Viliame Kikau was clearly best on ground at the event.
While a few hours’ sleep was achieved by some on Monday morning, a chunk of the playing group was back on deck after the BlueBet Stadium fan day, heading to the Log Cabin and Duck Duck Goose on Monday, along with other venues, as the celebrations rolled on.
O’Neill joins celebrations
One familiar face on the field after the Grand Final was former Panthers Chairman Dave O’Neill.
He missed out on the fanfare of winning the Premiership last year due to the lockdown in Sydney and the relocation of the competition to Queensland.
It was only fitting that despite being voted off the Board earlier this year, he had the opportunity to participate in the celebrations.
O’Neill also travelled back to Penrith with the rest of the Board late on Sunday night.
Cleary’s Dally M snub
He may be one of the most popular and marketable players in the game but Nathan Cleary wasn’t even invited to the Dally M Awards last Wednesday night.
While his suspension meant he was never going to win the game’s highest individual honour, it seems odd he wouldn’t be at the game’s night of nights.
I’m told Cleary enjoyed some dinner at Goji instead.
Panthers on parade
Well done to all who got involved with the car parade that left from Jamison Park on Sunday morning.
For an unofficial event not organised by the club, it was a stunning success with so much Panther pride and spirit on display.
The perfect way to kick-off Grand Final Day.
While Channel Nine would be concerned about the low TV ratings for the Grand Final, they’re over the moon with the streaming figures. The game attracted a record streaming audience of 389,000 on 9Now.
Yeo’s big honour
Isaah Yeo will vice-captain the Australian side at the World Cup after being named in the Kangaroos squad on Monday. Nathan Cleary was also named in the squad along with Liam Martin, both of whom will make their Kangaroos debut at the tournament. Dylan Edwards has been named as a standby player.
The staff at the Mercure Hotel at Panthers certainly don’t miss a beat. They left free ear plugs in every room on Grand Final night, getting ahead of potential complaints due to noise in the precinct from the Grand Final celebrations.
2003 Grand Final winners Luke Priddis, Rhys Wesser and Luke Swain all cheering hard for the Panthers at Accor Stadium on Sunday night.
‘Today Show’ in town
Plenty of Penrith fans had an early start to Grand Final weekend when they headed down to Panthers Leagues Club on Friday morning for a live broadcast from the ‘Today Show’. We’re told Karl Stefanovic was a big fan of Chopstix or Fork.
Eels ban Panthers
Parramatta Leagues Club refused entry to anyone wearing a Penrith jersey on Grand Final Day. Panthers had no such rules, with all welcome.
Back in the mix
Don’t be surprised if former Penrith hooker Brad Drew has a big role with the club next year, while Hayden Knowles is a chance of returning to the foot of the Mountains as a trainer.
See you next week! My column continues through the off-season.