Panthers

Leota to wipe quiet achiever tag ahead of promotion

The Panthers will turn to Leota to beef up the side's starting pack following the departures of 267-game veteran James Tamou, new Bulldog Jack Hetherington and Super League-bound Zane Tetevano in the off-season.

While Leota isn't on his front-row partner James Fisher-Harris's level of quietness around the group, he's also a player that likes to keep to himself off the paddock.

The usually silent Fisher-Harris was mic'd up by Panthers coach Ivan Cleary during a game in 2019 in a bid to see how much he spoke on the field.

'Triple agent' Luai to become comic book hero

Luai is one of dozens of NRL players to feature in Rugby Blood II, a creation of former Melbourne Storm prop Keith Mason, who has cast the gifted playmaker as a triple agent and renowned escape artist.

Luai represented the Maori All Stars in the 10-10 draw with the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday night and is also a proud wearer of the Samoan jersey. Add to that his inclusion in the NSW squad for last year's State of Origin series.

"I’m a big fan of anime and superheroes, so it is pretty cool," Luai said. "I was shown a photo of how I looked and I was stoked.

Panthers boss adamant contracts won't disrupt 2021 campaign

The NRL runners-up will return to pre-season training on December 14 but much of the focus throughout the side's break has centred around their young off-contract stars, including Stephen Crichton and Jarome Luai.

Fletcher maintains the Panthers, aside from losing skipper James Tamou, should be in a position to challenge for the title again in 2021 after falling short in October.

NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney frustrated by mistakes in Panthers defeat

A week after holding the St George Illawarra Dragons scoreless, the Warriors didn't fire a shot as they failed to score a single point for the second time this season.

Nothing seemed to go the Warriors' way, with all of the Panthers' five tries coming off mistakes or penalties. 

On top of that, the Panthers dominated possession and the ruck battle with Kiwis international James Fisher-Harris leading the way with a career-high 239 run metres and 44 tackles. 

Kikau's four-year wait to link with Cleary

In his first stint as Penrith coach Ivan Cleary met with Kikau to discuss a possible move to Penrith and along with general manager Phil Gould, convinced the then 19-year-old that Sydney's west was where his future would lie.

But by the time Kikau arrived, Cleary had been given his marching orders by Gould in a move that caught many off guard – including the up-and-coming talent.

With Cleary now back at the Panthers, the trio are now set to work together for the first time since the handshake agreement was made four years ago.

Sacked Panthers coach fires back

In his role as Panthers general manager, Gould nominated Griffin's "old-school approach" to coaching as the prime reason for his axing on Monday.

But - while stressing he was not out to assassinate Gould's character - Griffin had his own shot back on Wednesday night.

"Gus (Gould) hasn't coached for 20 years. He hasn't had his head in the fire for 20 years. If there's anyone old school in the conversation ... he'd need to be there as well," Griffin told NRL 360 on Fox Sports.

Panthers LB Kuechly suffers another concussion

Kuechly left Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles late in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.

He was officially ruled out midway through the third quarter and the Panthers said he was in the concussion protocol.

Kuechly was injured on a short LeGarrette Blount run from the one-yard line. Kuechly rushed from the right side of the Eagles line as Blount was dropped for a one-yard loss on a run to the left. Kuechly sat on the turf at Bank of America Stadium before slowing getting up and being walked to the sideline by trainers.

PNG's secret weapon to bring down Panthers

Now towering prop Wellington Albert is promising to use it against Penrith in Sunday's Intrust Super Championship.

Albert and his younger brother Stanton both played under-20s for the Panthers and are among seven PNG Hunters players who represented the Kumuls against the Cook Islands in Campbelltown earlier this year, a game in which PNG triumphed 32-22.

Brisbane outmuscle Panthers to advance

The stage was set for Brisbane's horror injury night when Queensland winger Corey Oates was heavily concussed in a sickening collision with teammate Anthony Milford in the 21st minute.

Forwards Sam Thaiday and Jai Arrow (both concussion) joined him on the sideline by the second half.

Yet Brisbane somehow still racked up their seventh-straight finals win at Suncorp Stadium to book a grand final qualifier with the Storm.

The Panthers season is over despite also bravely battling on with injury.

Defence key to Panthers win

Their fourth win on the trot was typical of a side coming off a five-day turnaround and the Panthers stayed in control for most of the contest despite a low-scoring affair.

Penrith kept the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half before nabbing two late tries through Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Tyrone Peachey to seal another much-needed win and edge closer to the top eight. 

"We are obviously defending well and that gives you a lot of confidence. But you only defend well if your attitude is right," Griffin said post-game.