Masked Panther: Membership pack shake-up coming

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New system for Membership packs

I can reveal the club is about to announce a major change to its Membership packs from next season.

Instead of getting a ‘standard’ pack, members can design their own pack – using credit to select from over 40 merchandise items.

Members can choose from a wide range of exclusive member items with the options to design or personalise their own pack – ensuring greater value to the membership.

I’m told there’s a slight price increase for next season, but the pack shake-up will certainly add value. Ultimate Memberships are also in for an overhaul with an opportunity to be part of a team photo to be included.

The club will release details in the coming days.

Luai races the clock

Whether Jarome Luai returns for Penrith this season will come down to two factors: the Panthers advancing deep into September, and how much pain the five-eighth is willing to play through.

The earliest the 26-year-old will return will be for the Preliminary Final, but Penrith would either need to win in week one of the Finals, or in week two should they lose, to get that far. By then, Luai should have enough strength in the shoulder to play – but it won’t be a comfortable experience.

Behind the scenes, Penrith remain optimistic of Luai’s chances of returning but also know the realities of such an injury. If this had occurred mid-season, there’s no way he’d be back in such a short timeframe.

Jarome Luai suffered a shoulder injury against Parramatta. Photo: NRL Images.

Documenting the journey

In the moments after full-time against the Eels last Thursday night, Penrith’s media team came up with the idea to follow the progress of Jarome Luai’s shoulder injury journey.

Luai agreed to have cameras follow him into his scans, with a fly-on-the-wall approach to documenting the roller coaster ride to come. Panthers provided the footage to Channel Nine, which aired on its 6pm news, but you can imagine there’s more to see should the story have a particularly positive ending.

Luai was also fine with journalist Michael Chammas having rare access – proving not all journos are on his blacklist.


A number of Panthers players and staff, including coach Ivan Cleary and co-captain Isaah Yeo, enjoying the recently opened The Orchard near Tench Reserve.

One to remember

Jesse McLean will certainly never forget his first grade debut. The youngster was remaining upbeat after the game, focusing on the realisation of a dream rather than a couple of negatives to come out of his inaugural top grade experience.

Not only was McLean part of a disappointing loss to bitter rivals Parramatta, but a high tackle led to a charge from the Match Review Committee. McLean took the early guilty plea and was subject to a monetary fine only.

Jesse McLean after his debut last week. Photo: NRL Images.

Girl power on Board

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy CEO Belinda Leonard will join the Board of Panthers.

Her appointment was confirmed yesterday at the club’s latest Board meeting. She becomes the first woman on the Board in the club’s history.

Nordoff Robbins CEO Belinda Leonard. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Prize money questioned

It’s an honour to win the J.J, Giltinan Shield for being Minor Premiers, but it’s been clear this week that is far from a top priority for clubs.

Perhaps the $200,000 prize money needs to be seriously looked at moving forward. I know Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher has long thought the prize for coming first is way too low.


Panthers players in their full kit filming promotions for Channel Nine on Monday afternoon ahead of the Finals.

CCT in town

2GB’s Continuous Call Team will be broadcasting live from Penrith this Saturday. Mark Levy, Darryl Brohman, Paul Gallen and Josh Morris will be live in The Basement from 1pm, ahead of the clash between the Panthers and Cowboys at 5.30pm.

Brandy’s boost

SEN’s breakfast show hosted by Andrew Voss and Panthers legend Greg Alexander has enjoyed a slight ratings boost. The show had a 0.1 per cent bump to 0.8 per cent, still the worst performer on Sydney radio but starting to gain some traction.

Sam’s still got it

Sam McKendry played 147 games for his beloved Penrith Panthers and while injuries played a significant part of his 10-year career, he’s still loving his footy.

McKendry, now 34, was part of Emu Plains’ thrilling Grand Final win over Windsor in the local Penrith competition over the weekend. I’m told McKendry tackled his heart out, proving the old boy has still got it.

Sam McKendry.

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