Masked Panther: Chairman’s Lounge set for expansion

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Panthers plan Chairman’s expansion

As part of what is now a major upgrade of Penrith Stadium slated for 2025, the Chairman’s Lounge will be expanded significantly.

I’m told the club wants to take the main function room at the stadium from a capacity of 280 to somewhere around 500. That would take some significant re-shaping of the western grandstand.

Corporate ticketing at Panthers has been in hot demand over the last couple of seasons, with the Chairman’s Lounge regularly sold-out.

Guests enjoy the hospitality at the Chairman’s Lounge. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Wayne’s praise for Panthers

A couple of years ago Wayne Bennett and Ivan Cleary were throwing shots at each other as their rivalry intensified. Now, it appears Bennett has nothing but respect for what Cleary has achieved at the Panthers.

The Dolphins coach is adamant Penrith has what it takes to achieve a rare Premiership three-peat this year.

“There’s no reason why they can’t,” he said.

“There’s a few teams out there that are good and they’re one of them. There’s no reason why they can’t win three in a row. It’s not going to be easy but they would know that.”

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett. Photo: NRL Images.

Paceway plan crushed

The Weekender’s exclusive revelation last week that the plan to knock down and re-build Penrith Stadium was off the table has obvious ramifications for the Penrith Paceway.

The previous government had planned to acquire the Paceway and Showground land and build the new stadium there, delivering a brand new multi-purpose venue that would have had a capacity upwards of 30,000. I can now confirm that Infrastructure NSW has ceased negotiations with the Paceway, the final nail in the plan’s coffin.

“The commercial negotiations for the acquisition of the Penrith Paceway site are on-hold,” an Infrastructure NSW spokesperson said.

I assure you, “on-hold” means the plan is dead and buried. Who knows what that means for the long-term future of the Paceway, with Penrith City Council refusing to rezone the site for development and the Paceway making it clear their future is not likely to be on that site.

Coach’s double presser

The weird and whacky world of rugby league media scheduling meant that Panthers coach Ivan Cleary held two press conferences in the space of 24 hours this week. Cleary addressed the media after Penrith’s win over the Dolphins in Redcliffe, and then scheduled his weekly mandated pre-match press conference the next morning in Penrith.

Kayo banished

It was interesting to note that Channel Nine refused to refer to the Dolphins’ home ground as Kayo Stadium in its broadcast last Sunday. Kayo, owned by Fox Sports, is a competitor to Nine. They opted to call the venue Dolphin Oval.

Kit change

Nectr’s recent acquisition of InStyle Solar has prompted a mid-season kit change for the Panthers.

The Nectr brand now appears on the club’s shorts, with the placement to remain until the end of the season.

InStyle’s branding elsewhere, including at BlueBet Stadium, is also being updated.

Spotted

Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai all smiles at Kayo Stadium, celebrating his 100th game with friends, family and supporters. Luai is showing no signs of letting his Origin axing get to him, putting his focus well and truly back onto club footy.

Jarome Luai celebrates his 100th game. Photo: NRL Images.

Funny or cringe?

There were laughs all round last Sunday when Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin asked Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett if he had a plan for handling Nathan Cleary. Bennett had to inform Fatty that Cleary wasn’t playing. It was funny, but also embarrassing that a main commentator on the host broadcaster hadn’t done his research.

Cleary’s milestone

Nathan Cleary will play his 150th NRL game for the Panthers this Sunday afternoon against Canterbury. It’s a huge achievement given he’s just 25-years-old.

New addition

Congratulations to Panthers forward Matt Eisenhuth and his wife Holly, who welcomed a new baby – Ollie – into their world last week.

Laurie to return?

Whispers are growing louder that Daine Laurie could be set to return to Penrith from the Wests Tigers. There’s reports suggesting he’s on the verge of signing a modest deal to return to the club from next season.

Spotted

Former Pantherette and ‘Gogglebox’ star Vestal Delpechitra holidaying with her family in Sri Lanka.

Masked Panther

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