Panthers board member Greg Alexander has backed in coach Anthony Griffin as the man to take the club forward despite shaky form out of the representative period.
In addition to the Origin members, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and James Fisher-Harris played for New Zealand in the Denver Test, while Christian Crichton, Tyrone May and Tongan Sione Katoa were called up for Samoa and Tonga to play in the mid-year Test.
And even in spite of a horrific 50-18 loss to the Broncos last week, Alexander remains confident with where the club is at.
“Last Friday night wasn’t great…. there’s still six weeks to go. I’m not overly concerned,” Alexander said at the Fox Sports ‘Retro Round’ launch.
“There’s good performances in them they just need to get it together,” the 1991 premiership-winning skipper said, starting with Manly on Saturday at Lottoland.
“Origin is over…. Nathan, Jimmy and Peach have had time to get it all out of their system and get back to club footy.
“Injuries have certainly played their part. And we’ve had players in and out and we’re starting to get a few back now. But Origin… it had an effect… a couple of first-timers in Peach and Nathan.
“There’s no doubt that played a part. It only takes a few blokes to be off their game slightly, with the comp so close, that you get beaten comfortably.”
Alexander issued his faith in Griffin and remains confident he will steer them out of their current poor form.
“We’ve got two-and-a-half years to go with ‘Hook’ [Griffin]. So there won’t be any coach departing – it won’t happen,” Alexander said.
“At this point in time Hook is coaching the team. He has good assistant coaches. They are working through things and that’s all. Hook is not going anywhere.”
Alexander added that the Panthers would not get caught up in any gossip outside the four walls of the club.
“The rumours can become as strong as they want. But if the drama within the club isn’t as big as is being portrayed then there’s no problem – people just get on with the job,” he said.
“Hook’s personality is perfect for us because he’s a straight shooter.
“Hook is very good at dealing with people. He’s a good coach; a good manager of people. And I like the way he speaks to his players.”