Here is the best 17 of Panthers from the NRL era!
- Rhys Wesser 1998-08, 177 games, 113 tries
Blessed with blistering speed and footwork, Wesser was a one-of-a-kind fullback who didn’t really break into the Penrith side until 2001. From 2001 to 06, Wesser notched up 100 tries for the Panthers, including 25 in 26 games en route to the Minor Premiership and premiership double. Potentially the greatest fullback to never achieve international duties, Wesser did play four Origins for QLD.
- Luke Lewis 2001-12, 208 games, 89 tries
Before developing into a fine back-rower late on, Lewis was a talented outside back. Across 12 years, Lewis played six positions for Penrith including in the halves. From 2002-05, Lewis racked up 58 tries, showcasing some brilliant finishing. In his first full season at lock, he secured the Dally M Lock of the Year which demonstrated his versatility.
- Ryan Girdler 1998-04, 119 games, 61 tries
The ‘intercept king’ turned into a world-class centre in the middle of his 12-year span at Penrith. Girdler took out the Dally M Centre of the Year two years in a row while also becoming a star on the rep scene, playing major roles in the 2000 World Cup for Australia and the 2000 Origin series for NSW.
- Michael Jennings 2007-12, 122 games, 71 tries
The prolific centre is one of only three players here still playing in the NRL. Jennings played six seasons with Penrith, scoring at least 10 tries in five of them. His electric pace made him a constant threat to any defence and labelled him as Penrith’s most dangerous attacking outlet for half a decade.
- Luke Rooney 2001-08, 140 games, 65 tries
With the heroics of Luke Priddis and Scott Sattler taking the credit in the 2003 Grand Final, Luke Rooney’s double is often overlooked, but the big winger was in the right place at the right time for Penrith’s first and last tries of the decider that saw Penrith win their second premiership. Rooney also scored 65 tries in 140 games for the club; not a bad effort at all.
- Preston Campbell 2003-06, 96 games, 43 tries
Campbell joined Penrith in 2003 after a disappointing individual season for the Sharks in 2002, and his arrival coincided with immediate success. Campbell only missed five games in four seasons for the Panthers, playing every match in 2003 and scoring 13 tries in a premiership-winning season.
- Craig Gower 1998-07 206 games, 45 tries
Gower spent 12 long years at Penrith, spending his early years as a talented hooker as he took out the Dally M Hooker of the Year in 2000. Gower permanently moved into the halves in 2002 and became captain. He formed a balanced halves partnership with Campbell over four years. Gower also earnt 18 tests for Australia over his time with the Panthers.
- Joel Clinton 2002-07, 137 games, 5 tries
Clinton debuted in 2002 and managed to notch up 137 games in just six seasons with Penrith. Clinton’s fearless, hard running was inspirational in just his second season of top grade, starting in 26 games as they won the comp. His form continued into 2004, making his Test debut in the ANZAC Test after just 51 first grade games.
- Luke Priddis 2002-08, 162 games, 34 tries
Priddis was a mainstay in the Penrith side for seven years with the solid hooker only experiencing finals footy with the club twice however he made the most of it. After finishing 12th in 2002, Penrith made their way to the GF in 2003, where Priddis played an enormous role, setting up both of Luke Rooney’s tries, and scoring a try himself to win the Clive Churchill Medal.
- Martin Lang 2002-04, 67 games
Son of John, Martin Lang joined his father at the Panthers where they achieved the success together that they struggled to reach at Cronulla. Lang didn’t get the plaudits of a big-name player, but his efforts on the field always pushed his team, often showing no regard for his body which left him with bad concussion issues. Returned into the side mid-season and only lost three games in 2003.
- Trent Waterhouse 2002-11, 186 games, 39 tries
Trent Waterhouse was a handy player for Penrith in his early days at the club, being used as an impact forward from the bench in 2002 and 2003, becoming a premiership-winning player at 22. With Scott Sattler’s departure, Waterhouse became the full-time lock in 2004 and ended up spending a decade with the club, leading the tackle charts with tireless efforts each game.
- Tony Puletua 1998-08, 202 games, 39 tries
50% of the iconic hair-bear duo with Joe Galuvao, Tony Puletua was an exceptional back-rower for Penrith for over a decade and became a loyal servant for the club, cracking the 200-game mark, and the top five for all-time appearances for the club. Tall, powerful and hard to tackle, Puletua was a nightmare to opposition defences who often struggled to close him and his offload down.
- Scott Sattler 1999-03, 118 games, 16 tries
Sattler was a tremendous lock, always taking on heavy workloads. But while Sattler brought experience and grit to the Penrith side, he’ll always be remembered for one tackle in particular. Scores level at 6-6, Sattler chased down the speedy Todd Byrne of the Roosters and performed a brilliant cover tackle on him into touch to turn the game in Penrith’s favour.
- Frank Pritchard 2003-10, 144 games, 37 tries
Frank Pritchard didn’t quite make the cut for the premiership side in 2003, only playing seven games however it was only the beginning of quite the career for Frank. He quickly cut a figure of one of the most promising young forwards in the game with some powerhouse performances and tackle-breaking. Had a career-best season in a wooden spoon season, scoring 14 tries in 23 in 2007.
- Joe Galuvao 2002-05, 78 games, 15 tries
Galuvao joined from the Warriors without truly making a name for himself, either playing off the bench, in the centres or even at fullback. When he joined the Panthers, he moved into the back row and it was his combination with Kiwi forward Tony Puletua that really made the mobile forward shine. He only spent four years with Penrith but it set him up for a good career with a taste for success.
- Petero Civoniceva 2008-11, 74 games, 3 tries
Petero was a leader and big body that Penrith needed with the departure of Joel Clinton in the other direction to Brisbane. Civoniceva immediately became captain with Craig Gower gone, and despite being in his later playing days, kept playing with the same intensity aggression, winning his only Dally M Prop of the year, in his first season at Penrith.
- Isaah Yeo 2014-current, 126 games, 17 tries
The only player on this list that still plays for Penrith, Yeo has been a model of consistency for six years since debuting with Penrith. Yeo constantly ploughs through heavy workloads with no complaints, makes efficient tackles and can easily play 80 minutes regularly. Future captain material of the club.
Previous: Brisbane Broncos, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, Gold Coast Titans, Manly Sea Eagles, Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys, Parramatta Eels