Penrith Emus on outer again as exit from John I Dent Cup confirmed

The Penrith Emus in action.
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After two seasons playing in the John I Dent Cup, the Penrith Emus have been omitted for the 2024 competition.

In a statement released last Friday afternoon, the ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union said they “keenly supported” Penrith’s inclusion in the competition in 2022 at a pivotal time for the club.

“Penrith’s initial move to the ACT competition was also unanimously supported by the clubs, with a commitment to fielding teams across First Grade, Women, Second Grade and Colts,” the statement said.

“Club Presidents recently expressed concerns around Penrith’s performances after some big losses this year, including a 99-17 defeat by Gungahlin in Round 5, followed by a 111-17 loss to Vikings in Round 7 and a 71-0 victory by Wests in Round 14. Heightened by the mid-season withdrawal of their second grade team.

“With the logistics of a team based at Nepean Rugby Park playing every second week in Canberra proving incredibly difficult. In the end, there was a loss of support from the John I Dent Cup clubs for Penrith’s continuation next season.”

The Emus failed to chalk up a victory in first grade in two years but did show some signs of life in the Colts and Women’s competitions.

“ACT&SNSWRU officials have the utmost admiration for Penrith President Gary McColl, Club Secretary Sue Andrews and Head Coach Ronnie Patea and their unwavering commitment to the Emus,” the statement continued.

“Their endless dedication to the players and the continuing determination shown for the club is remarkable. The relationship between the Emus and the Canberra-based clubs have also been positive, with all developing a valued association with the western Sydney club. The door remains open and the opportunity for a return to the Canberra-based competition would wholeheartedly be considered in the future.”

Nathan Taylor

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.

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