Masked Panther: Penrith cubs called in to help Blues

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Huge moment for young Panthers

Penrith’s SG Ball squad was given an incredible opportunity last week when they were called upon to clash with the NSW Blues in an opposed session at Blue Mountains Grammar School.

The Blues called the Panthers looking for a team to partake in the session, and the SG Ball boys answered the call. An incredible experience for the young Panthers.

Penrith’s SG Ball side with the Blues.

Edwards shattered by withdrawal

Not surprisingly, Dylan Edwards has been left heartbroken by the injury that ruled him out of State of Origin I on Wednesday night.

And it’s particularly frustrating given, I’m told, Edwards believes he could have played despite the quad strain he picked up at training.

Coach Michael Maguire clearly didn’t want to risk it and made the final call on Sunday morning.

Journalist Nathan Taylor chats with Dylan Edwards last week. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Family matters

It wasn’t the debut either of them would have wanted, but Preston Riki and Trent Toelau both achieved long-held dreams when they ran on for the Panthers at BlueBet Stadium last Saturday night.

Families of both players braved the rain to cheer on the pair in their NRL debuts.

We had seen earlier in the week how much family meant to both players, with Panthers releasing emotional videos of the pair telling their families they’d been selected in first grade.

Trent Toelau with his family last Saturday night. Photo: NRL Photos.

Luai buys in

In any other setting Jarome Luai would be coordinating the playlist on a giant boom box at training. But not the NSW camp of the past week. Luai has very much bought into the leadership role he’s been handed with the Blues, and the side opted for much quieter training sessions heading into Wednesday’s series opener under the fresh approach of Michael Maguire.

It was noted how well Luai spoke to the media when opportunities arose over the past week too – all good signs for the Tigers who no doubt will lean heavily on his experience next year.

Jarome Luai at Blues training this week. Photo: NRL Photos.

Spotted

Ivan Cleary’s wife Bec with friends enjoying a pre-match beverage at the new Alexander’s bar inside Panthers Leagues Club last Saturday afternoon.

Spotted

Injured halfback Nathan Cleary maintaining his presence around his teammates on game day, providing whatever inspiration he can while he’s sidelined.

Nathan Cleary at BlueBet Stadium last Saturday night. Photo: NRL Photos.

Stadium tree plan

The upcoming redevelopment of Penrith Stadium will see 11 trees removed, but the Environmental Impact Statement confirms a total of 182 new trees will be planted as part of the project.

2GB’s ratings victory

You can’t keep an old dog down.

The latest radio ratings show the 2GB Continuous Call Team is dominating the rugby league airwaves this season.

The team led by Mark Levy tops the ABC, Triple M and SEN across Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

On Saturdays, they have an 11.4 per cent share – more than double what the ABC is producing.

Spotted

Despite the wet conditions, Penrith’s tough loss and suffering an injury, Moses Leota still had plenty of time to sign autographs last Saturday.

Moses Leota signing autographs last Saturday. Photo: NRL Photos.

New stadium image

Here’s a side by side look at the huge transformation set to take place when the Western Stand at Penrith Stadium is re-built. The left image shows the view from behind the Western Stand as it is now, while the right shows what it’s expected to look like once complete in 2026.

Old versus new: BlueBet Stadium’s Western Stand.

Got some goss?

I don’t keep secrets but I do protect my sources. If you’ve heard a rumour or got some news, make sure you share it. Text me now on 0434 986 622.


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