Turuva hopeful of locking in new Panthers deal

Sunia Turuva. Photo: Melinda Jane.
Share this story

Reigning NRL Rookie of the Year Sunia Turuva is hopeful that his future with the Panthers will be finalised in the not-too-distant future.

The 21-year-old winger is currently off-contract at season’s end, with negotiations already underway with his management and the Penrith front office.

However, with several other key Panthers players also in the middle of sorting out their long-term futures, Turuva is now playing the waiting game.

“I’ll be honest… I haven’t heard much but obviously the plan is to stay here at Penrith – it’s home,” Turuva told the Weekender on Tuesday.

Mitch Kenny and Taylan May are also hoping to lock down their futures with the club in the coming weeks, with the latter reportedly being chased by three rival teams including the Storm, Dragons and Roosters.
Turuva said he and his off-contract teammates all want to stay at the Premiers beyond this year.

“Along with Kenny and Tiny (May), all three of us want to stay at home,” he said.

“We love this club, and I’m sure the other two would agree.

“The club has done a fair bit for us over the years and the plan is to stay, but I don’t know if we can because [Izack] Tago took all the money,” Turuva joked referring to the centre’s whopping new deal last week.

Sunia Turuva chats to the Weekender’s Nathan Taylor. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Whatever happens, one thing is certain, Turuva will be doing everything he can this season to prove his worth in Ivan Cleary’s side.

Last Friday, in Penrith’s 26-18 victory over the Parramatta Eels, Turuva scored a double and ran for 134 metres. This week, he’ll be looking to continue his strong start to the year when the Panthers battle the Broncos in a re-match of the 2023 NRL Grand Final.

Thursday’s match at BlueBet Stadium is a part of the NRL’s Multicultural Round, with Penrith set to wear a special Pasifika jersey to celebrate the occasion.

Crafted by former Panther Frank Puletua, in collaboration 2003 premiership winner Joe Galuvao, the jersey symbolises a proud tribute to the rich heritage of Pasifika players, their families, and the unwavering support of Panthers fans.

“I remember when our manager Jason Wrigley bought up the jersey to us last year and we all bought into it straight away,” Turuva said.

“It’s always Panthers, Panthers, Panthers, so getting to represent Fiji for Panthers will be pretty special. I’ll be representing my family and a lot of people back home as well.”

Not a day goes by when Turuva doesn’t represent his family and heritage proudly, and nothing is about to change any time soon.

Turuva said his mission in 2024 is to avoid the dreaded second year syndrome and to do his best to remain fit and healthy despite a “frustrating” ongoing knee issue.

“It’s a pre-season injury that’s been carrying on the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“I don’t need to rest it, I can manage it through the week and it’s pretty much right by game day. Hopefully it comes good.”

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.

Share this story