Masked Panther: Panthers opt for alternate jersey

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Panthers make big jersey call

I understand Penrith will wear their 2003 heritage strip throughout the entire Finals series, and the Grand Final should they make it.

They wore the 1991 strip during last year’s series, opting not to wear their traditional home jersey.

Backing up what I’m hearing is that Nathan Cleary wore the 2003 alternate jersey to the Finals launch on Monday.

Nathan Cleary at the Finals launch on Monday. Photo: NRL Images.

Brian’s Blues gong

Penrith winger Brian To’o has been honoured for a strong State of Origin series, taking out the prestigious Brad Fittler Medal this week.

“Brian epitomises the attributes of a NSW Blues player as he always gives his all whenever he pulls on the jersey,” Blues coach Brad Fittler said.

“He is a hard worker at training and on the field, and brings a great energy to camp that other players enjoy being around.”

To’o has represented NSW nine times since making his debut in 2021 and played a key role in the Game Three win in Sydney this year. He ran for 258m, including 102 post-contact, had a line break, an offload, two tackle busts and scored the opening try of the game.

He wasn’t the only Panther honoured at the event at The Star this week – Liam Martin took home the True Blue award.

Brian To’o has won the Brad Fittler Medal. Photo: NRL Images.

No Minor achievement

Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary accepted the J.J. Giltinan Shield at BlueBet Stadium last Saturday night after the Panthers claimed their third minor Premiership in the space of four seasons. It’s an incredible reward for the club’s consistency.

The club not only pockets $200,000 prize money for finishing first past the post, but gets a host of other benefits – such as being able to select their choice of dressing room on Grand Final day, and the ability to wear their choice of jersey in the season decider.

Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary with the J.J. Giltinan Shield. Photo: NRL Images.

Panthers show their cards

Jarome Luai knows where he stands at Penrith after the club indicated their likely offer to him, as he weighs up whether to test the open market in November.

There’s reports the Panthers are unlikely to offer more than $800,000 per season from 2025. Most believe Luai could attract around $1 million per season if he was to head elsewhere.


Western Weekender Editor Troy Dodds reminding anyone who will listen that he predicted both South Sydney and Parramatta to miss the Finals in a pre-season column back in February. He’s a chance of taking over the Horoscopes section next week.

Edwards gets it done

It’s been an incredible ride for fullback Dylan Edwards since he was named Ben Alexander Rookie of the Year in 2017.

There were times his first grade career appeared to be hanging by a thread, but the Bellingen Dorrigo Magpies junior has come through it and is now one of the most reliable fullbacks in the competition.

Last week he signed a massive new deal that will keep him at the club until at least the end of the 2028 season.


Nathan Cleary happily signing autographs for early arriving fans in the hours prior to Penrith’s clash against North Queensland last Saturday.

Nathan Cleary signs an autograph for a fan. Photo: NRL Images.

Early renewal

Panthers Members with auto renewal selected on their membership were a little surprised to receive an email last week confirming a September 15 payment date. In other words, you’ll pay for your 2024 ticket before the 2023 season is even over. Last year, the payment was taken in October – well after the Grand Final.

New merch

The Panthers have released two new shirts, celebrating another Finals series as well as the Minor Premiership. The Finals shirt – with ‘Hunting History’ as its theme (pictured) – comes as a spectacular, spine-chilling Finals campaign video is released by the club with the same slogan at its core. Both shirts are available to buy from the Panthers website.

Scheduling quirk

Despite finishing Minor Premiers, those on the inside at Panthers always knew they wouldn’t play on the Friday night.

Channel Nine’s obsession with Brisbane in the Friday slot was always going to win out.

The fact Penrith are playing the Warriors and an earlier timeslot helps out their fans back in New Zealand was also a factor.


Plenty of love for the Penrith ‘old boys’ last Saturday, including 2003 Premiership winner Craig Gower who was among the most popular players on the lap of honour.

A fan embraces Craig Gower last Saturday. Photo: NRL Images.

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