Masked Panther: Moment Tago signed new Panthers deal

Tago’s monster contract

This is the moment Penrith centre Izack Tago re-signed with the club until the end of 2028. He signed his new NRL contract with General Manager of Rugby League Shane Elford.

The 21-year-old – who celebrates a birthday next month – was already signed until the end of next year, but has been considered a priority signing for the club.

Media reports last weekend suggested that the new deal was worth around $750,000 a season.

Izack Tago agrees to a new deal with Panthers General Manager, Shane Elford. Photo: Penrith Panthers.

Cleary’s Tago confusion

Coaches often say they don’t read the papers, and in Ivan Cleary’s case he may just be telling the truth.

Cleary was asked at a press conference on Monday about Tago’s new deal, and appeared surprised by the question.

“How do you know that,” he asked the journalist.

“Was there?” was his response when told the story was in the media the previous day.

“Well if he has, that’s great,” Cleary bemused.

New match day raffle

Panthers will introduce a 50/50 raffle this year on game days, with the winner to score 50 per cent of the cash raised by the initiative and the other 50 per cent going to Panthers community projects, such as Panthers on the Prowl.

You may have seen the concept in action at other grounds. You’ll be able to grab an entry from this Friday night or online at

Footy Doubles back

The addition of the new raffle doesn’t mean the end of Footy Doubles – which will still be available on game days. The great folks at Rotary will be selling them as you walk into the ground.

Cooper’s Panther talk

Cooper Johns has revealed that he spoke with Penrith about joining the club for the 2023 season, in the role eventually taken by Jack Cogger.

He’s told the light-hearted story of his interview process with Ivan Cleary on the latest episode of the ‘Backstage’ podcast, on which Nathan Cleary is a guest.

Hadley returns to airwaves

Radio legend Ray Hadley built his reputation on working seven days a week, presenting both his morning program and working on the Continuous Call Team.

He has only made the odd appearance on the Continuous Call Team in recent years, but is now back calling games following the terrible news that David Morrow is battling brain cancer. Morrow had been 2GB’s chief caller for some time.

His absence will mean Hadley calling more NRL games, while Mark Levy is also stepping up to call matches. Hadley will be on deck at BlueBet Stadium on Friday night for the clash between Penrith and Parramatta.


Nathan Cleary showing plenty of flexibility in the warm-up at AAMI Park last Friday. I’m pretty sure if I did this, I’d be in hospital for a week.

Nathan Cleary warms up. Photo: NRL Photos.

Rule change not needed

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has questioned the NRL’s rule change that sees a tap rather then a penalty awarded when a short drop-out goes wrong. It essentially encourages more short drop-outs.

“I don’t know if we needed to do it to be honest. I thought there was enough of it already,” he said on Monday.

“There needs to be a risk attached to it, it’s just my personal opinion… but I think we’ve got bigger problems than that.”

Useless fact

Here’s a useless fact for you – the Panthers and Eels have never played on March 15 before. But they have played in Round 2 a total of three times – and Penrith has won all of them.

New podcast

The Western Weekender has launched an all new podcast.

‘10 Minute Match Day’ is released every single Penrith Panthers game day, with Troy Dodds and Nathan Taylor providing a last minute preview of that weekend’s game.

As the name suggests, it only goes for 10 minutes – making it a quick but worthwhile listen. Search Western Weekender wherever you listen to podcasts, or visit