Masked Panther: Panthers chase depth for 2023

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Panthers hunt depth

Penrith are working towards filling some roster gaps next season, with plenty of rumours doing the rounds at present.

One player rumoured to be in Penrith’s sights is former Newcastle and Bulldogs half Jack Cogger, who has played in England for the last couple of seasons. I’m told he’s being looked at as a potential replacement for Sean O’Sullivan, who admirably filled in for Nathan Cleary during the 2022 season and is heading to the Dolphins next year.

There’s also rumours that the club is keen on young Warriors hooker Taniela Otukolo, who has huge wraps on him in New Zealand.

Jack Cogger has been linked with a move to Penrith. Photo: NRL Images.

Cleary in London

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has no formal role with any team at the Rugby League World Cup, but he’s still headed over to England for the tournament. He’ll be in the stands on Saturday when son Nathan makes his Kangaroos debut against Scotland.

Leota sidelined

Panthers Grand Final prop Moses Leota was a late withdrawal from New Zealand’s opening World Cup game earlier this week. The 27-year-old is dealing with a minor groin injury, but it’s hoped he’ll be back on deck for Sunday morning’s clash with Jamaica in Hull.


Panthers legend and Director Greg Alexander at Allianz Stadium for Bruno Mars’ concert last Saturday night.

Charlie’s a Dad

Congratulations to Penrith winger Charlie Staines and his partner Erin, who welcomed their little girl into the world last weekend. Alora Mae Staines (pictured) was born on October 11 at 10.25pm, weighing in at 3.5kgs.

Special farewell

Viliame Kikau’s partner Brittany has posted an emotional tribute to the Panthers, and the dual Premiership winner’s time at the club.

“We thank every single person who has shared a part in our journey so far. We will miss our Penrith family very much, but it’s never goodbye you will always be a part of us and our family!” she said on Instagram.

Freddy’s honour

Panthers 1991 Grand Final winner and local junior Brad Fittler has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Fittler has been recognised for his illustrious career in rugby league having played 16 seasons with the Panthers and Sydney Roosters.

He is the most capped NSW player in Origin history with 31 games and captained the Blues 14 times.

“This is a phenomenal achievement by Brad when you consider that he is now recognised in the illustrious company of Australian sporting icons such as Sir Donald Bradman AC and Dawn Fraser AC MBE,” said ARLC Chairman, Peter V’landys.

“He has become one of the most respected and admired figures in the game of rugby league and I have the greatest personal regard for Brad. I still have great memories of a young Freddy debuting for Penrith in 1989 while still in high school. It was apparent even then that he would go on to become a brilliant leader in the game.”

Brad Fittler. Photo: NRL Images.

20 years since title

Plans are underway to acknowledge 20 years since the Panthers beat the Roosters in the 2003 Grand Final to win the club’s second Premiership. The 2023 draw won’t be released until late next month at the earliest but it’s expected a Panthers v Roosters match will be scheduled at BlueBet Stadium.

The club also has an ‘03 Club membership package next season, which includes a special event with members of the 2003 team, and a special edition jersey.

Merch watch

Australia Post is releasing a limited edition stamp and ‘coin toss’ medallion to celebrate Penrith’s 2022 Grand Final success. Available for $30, only 1000 of the product will be produced. It’s available to pre-order now on the Australia Post website.

And local brewery Rusty Penny has released a commemorative 2022 Premiers Lager, available to buy now.

Get in touch

Heard a rumour? Spotted a player out and about? I don’t keep secrets, but I do protect my sources. Email [email protected].

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