SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 5: Ryan Girdler #3 and Craig Gower #7 of the Panthers celebrates victory after the NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers at Telstra Stadium October 5, 2003 in Sydney, Australia. Penrith won 18-6. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Here is the best 17 of Panthers from the NRL era!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. You forgot:
    RCG
    Blake
    Sivo
    Whoops, they’re at Parra now, so their best years are just beginning.
    Just kidding, although I’ll be extremely happy if their best years are just beginning.

  2. Every player who played in Penriths 2nd premiership winning team, Twelve seasons after their first one in 1991 should be included. Civoniseva and Yeo did nothing for Penrith to lift that 2003 Premiership Trophy.

    Really can not see Penrith achieving anything great over the next ten seasons.

  3. What about Greg Alexander, Brad Izzard, Mark Geyer, Nigel Plumb or even Royce Simmons. Great players that did more for the club than a lot of the previously mentioned players did.

  4. Greg Alexander was the best halfway there by far. Took the club from never making finals to finals & two Grand Finals.

  5. Eels..
    I think RCG’s best years may be behind him now as well. If he doesn’t stop turning his back & backing his way into the defences. That was brought on by the two broken jaws. We will see..
    Is Sivo staying at Parramatta?
    I wouldn’t rate Michael Jennings as one of Penrith’s best ever players. As he did as little as possible when he was there & just took the money. That’s why he was released.

  6. Yes. That may be so. But what’s the point of these best 17’s ? If few of any clubs actual best 17 players can be listed? The list doesn’t mean anything.

  7. ATG..
    I checked & you’re actually wrong.
    The NRL started in 1997 & Greg Alexander retired in 1999. .
    So he could still technically be included in the NRL era. Despite his best being before 1997.

  8. Super League was running in 1997 while the ARL was still playing their comp. 1998 was the first season when the two waring participants joined in competition in its first united comp.

    Alexander could not possibly be considered ahead of premiership NRL winner Gower on his final two seasons which at best were mediocre.

  9. Word it however you like MarkedWood. He still played in the NRL era. So he still qualifies under best players of the era. Even if it was his last year or two.
    So still the best halfback to play for the club, before or during the NRL.
    No other player changed the club as much as he did. He played first grade at 17 & was a champion then as well.

  10. Stick to the rules of the story Eastofdivide.

    The Best From The NRL.

    Your love affair with a champion player during the ARL era does not qualify Greg Alexander for a place in Penriths team of NRL players.
    He walked out on Penrith having two poor seasons with the Warriors playing Mr Fixit in multiple positions ending up as a fullback.

    Then came home to Penrith with his cat tail between his legs having a further two more very ordinary seasons before retiring.

    Alexander was rightly omitted from this Best of Penrith NRL Squad. Simply because the two seasons he played during the NRL at the end of his career, he was only half the player he was at his best. ARL years do not count.

    Word it anyway you like Eastofdivide.
    Your wrong and the person picking the team is right.

    Get over it sport.

  11. EastsAreDivine dont you even know when your back stabbing Super League aligned club Penrith switched camps and put our expansion of Rugby League back 25 years when we already had a 2nd Brisbane team and a Western Austraian team.

    You checked your facts and found that the NRL began in 1997. WRONG again.
    Do you get anything correct? Or just rant on like TwityOne with nothingness

Comments are closed.