Before last week’s MyPlace jersey reveal, the last time anyone saw Daine Laurie in a Panthers jumper was on Grand Final Night 2021.
No, Laurie didn’t play in the game against South Sydney at Suncorp, in-fact he was a member of the Wests Tigers at the time.
The image caused a huge stir online.
Joyful Penrith fans and the rugby league world in general thought it was a bit light-hearted – a mate supporting mates – but Tigers fans understandably saw it a lot differently and he was forced to apologise.
“I was just happy for my mates winning the comp,” Laurie said.
“I was still at Penrith at the start of that year before being swapped over to the Tigers during the pre-season.
“I was happy for my mates to win but I got in a bit of trouble for it.”
— LeagueUnlimited.com (@LeagueUnlimited) July 21, 2023
After three seasons at the struggling Tigers, where he played 49 games in various positions, the Lower Clarence Magpies junior returns to the Panthers next season after signing a one-year deal back in July.
The 24-year-old made his NRL debut with Penrith in 2020 and played just three first grade games that season before being traded to the Tigers for centre Paul Momirovski.
Laurie said he always envisioned himself extending his stay at the joint-venture but certainly isn’t kicking stones about being back ‘home’.
“It feels good to put the jersey on again. Obviously, I’m happy to be coming back and I’m keen to rip into the pre-season and start a new journey,” he said.
“I thought I would’ve had a couple of more years at the Tigers, but it didn’t happen. The opportunity popped up at Penrith and I’m happy to be back.”
Capable at fullback, five-eighth and on the wing, Laurie’s versatility on the park will certainly come in handy next season when Ivan Cleary needs him.
In his last half dozen games with the Tigers, Laurie played with the number six on his back to high acclaim. Laurie said he’s happy to play “wherever” for the three-peat champions.
“I’ll play anywhere – wherever Iv wants me in the side. My goal is to be in the 17 somewhere and hopefully bring this club another comp,” he said.
“I enjoyed playing five-eighth, that was fun towards the backend of last season, but I’ll play anywhere.
“I’ll come off the bench or wherever. As long as I’m in the 17, that’s my goal. I’ll just put my best foot forward and rip in as much as I can.”
While Laurie is only signed on for 12 months, he’d love nothing more than to stay put for the time being and try and earn himself a longer contract.
With Jarome Luai’s future with the Panthers up in the air, Laurie could be the perfect replacement.
“I’ll happily stay here for sure,” he said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.