Lang on League: My Penrith Park farewell wish list

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With the final Panthers home game at ‘Penrith Park’ getting ever closer, I thought I’d share some ideas on how I’d make the last day even more special for supporters and it starts with bringing Scott McRae back as the ground announcer one more time.

Scotty is the longest serving ground announcer in Panthers history. He started way back in 1998 and just kept on going until he finished up in 2019. His voice, personality and style are almost as iconic as the ground itself.

“100 per cent I would come back if asked,” McRae said.

“Actually it would be a nice way to close the chapter on 22 years of receiving nothing but love and affection from Panthers supporters.”

Scott McRae in his final season in 2019. Inset: Rodney O.

I believe he should be given at least one final swan song. Even if it’s a cameo role, but I think the majority of Penrith supporters would agree that he needs to be there when we say our final ‘farewell to Penrith Park’ on Saturday, September 7.

Speaking of ground announcers, what about bringing back the booming voice of Rodney O, the ground announcer during the 1997 Super League season?

Even if it’s just in the form of a recording to sing out “EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE” one more time. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!

I’ve personally been going to Penrith Park for nearly 35 years, so I’d like to pitch a few more ideas for the club to consider for the final home game celebrations.

• First, let’s stop the clock with five minutes to go in the match like they used to in the early 1990s.

• Have the cheerleaders wear ‘Robertson’s Sleep Doctor’ uniforms, also from the 1990s. While we’re at it why not bring back a male cheerleader as well!

• I’d love to see the mascots Paws and Claws on the sideline helping warm up the crowd (not necessarily the original men who wore the suits though).

Who wants to see some old mascots return?

• Let’s get a ‘black cat’ to run across the field during the game.

• I’d also love to see the Panthermobile lead out former Penrith players for a walk around the ground at half-time.

• Why not play retro music stings all night, highlighting songs from 1967 right up to 2024?

• Reduce the cost of hot chips and drinks to 1967 prices – even if it’s just for one designated hour.

• Let’s hear the trumpet sound followed by a hearty “CHARGE” when the Panthers are attacking the opposition tryline.

• What about some fireworks at full-time after the Panthers win the match?

• We could also place the logos of some of the club’s most iconic sponsors in the in-goal area on either end. I’m talking DahDah Uniforms, Sanyo and of course OAK.

• Finally, let’s see the old Panthers scoreboard in action. It doesn’t have to be as large as the original, even a smaller replica will do or just have it as an AI visual on the video screen.

The classic Panthers scoreboard.

Look, there are probably at least another dozen or so ideas that can be done on that final evening that I haven’t even thought of.

I also know not every suggestion can be used, but boy it was fun just listing the many special things that games at Penrith Park meant to me.

I’m sure going to miss the place when it’s finally time to say goodbye.

Peter Lang

Peter Lang is an experienced sports writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades. He first wrote Lang on League for the Weekender in the 1990s, and worked for Panthers on its famous Panthers Magazine for several years.

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