Masked Panther: Blues stick with Mountains base

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Heritage jersey released

The Panthers have unveiled the 2024 Heritage Jersey to be worn in the club’s last home game of the regular season. The jersey pays homage to that worn in 1967, the club’s inaugural season in the NSWRL, with the club’s foundation logo also featured on the sleeves of the jersey.

It’s available to pre-order now. Meanwhile, BlueBet Stadium will be re-named Penrith Park in Round 27 as a tribute to the beloved venue before it’s knocked down.

The new heritage jersey.

Flag removed

Remember last week I told you that a promotional flag featuring Taylan May was still flying proudly along Mulgoa Road?

I suggested it wasn’t a good look, given the serious charges he’s currently facing and our city’s stance against domestic violence.

This week, the flag was removed.

Cleary on comeback trail?

There’s plenty of rumours doing the rounds that Nathan Cleary could be back for Penrith’s next game against the Cowboys on June 30. That would even make him potentially available for State of Origin III on July 17.

However, the Panthers won’t be pushing things when it comes to their co-captain, especially with the crucial run to the Finals ahead. I’d suggest a more likely return is after the club’s second bye – on July 21 against the Dolphins.

Nathan Cleary leaves the field injured in May. Photo: NRL Photos.

Yeo’s presser cameo

You get the feeling captains are often only asked questions at post-match press conferences to make their presence worthwhile.

Last weekend, Penrith skipper Isaah Yeo wasn’t asked a single question by a journalist in the press conference following the game against Newcastle.

In a funny moment, the only question he was asked was by his coach – Ivan Cleary.

Isaah Yeo and Ivan Cleary at last week’s press conference. Photo: NRL Photos.

Sideline secret

Which sideline reporter admits they sometimes make up the coach’s report at half-time for their radio crosses? Nobody actually believes every sideline eye speaks to the coach themselves, but there’s an expectation there’s some element of truth in the reporting via either a trainer or official. In this case, certainly not.

Fresh signing news

Expect the Panthers to announce the re-signing of NSW Under 19’s pair Casey and Jesse McLean within the next few days or weeks. A deal is close to ensure both remain at the club.

Beanie success

The rugby league community has once again shown its extraordinary spirit in raising $3.1m for the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) in another hugely successful Beanie for Brain Cancer Round.

Beanie-adorned fans flooded National Rugby League venues across Round 15 of the Telstra Premiership, which culminated with a full house at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle for the Knights’ clash with reigning premiers Penrith.

MHF Founder Mark Hughes, who was on site at his former home ground for the final game of the round said rugby league fans, broadcasters and media all played a role in achieving the remarkable fundraising result.

“The rugby league community seems to find a way to lift every year, no matter what’s going on in the world,” he said.

NRL legend Andrew Johns sporting a beanie. Photo: NRL Photos.

On your bike

While parking around Penrith Stadium isn’t too much of an issue compared to other suburban grounds, it may pay to bring your bike once the venue’s redevelopment is complete. 50 new bicycle parking spaces will be implemented as part of the new stadium, for use both during and outside of game days.

New podcast

Don’t forget the Weekender’s brand new Panthers podcast, ‘Tension’s Running High’. The second episode will be out on Friday. It’s available at or just search Western Weekender wherever you listen to podcasts.

Blues stick with the plan

The New South Wales Origin team has returned to the Fairmont Resort in the Blue Mountains, maintaining it as their base ahead of the second game of the series next Wednesday night.

The team has trained a number of times at the nearby Blue Mountains Grammar School this week.

Penrith’s Dylan Edwards will finally make his Origin debut after being chosen in the team for next Wednesday’s game at the MCG, alongside teammates Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Liam Martin and Brian To’o.

The Blues will head to Melbourne over the weekend.

Dylan Edwards at Blues training on Wednesday. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Share your goss

I don’t keep secrets, but I do protect my sources. If you’ve seen a player out and about, or you have some great gossip, let me know: [email protected].

Masked Panther

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