Matthew Elliott

Matthew Elliott is expected to serve out the season as Penrith Panthers coach even if the club does not renew his contract beyond this year.

Elliott’s future at the Panthers has been the source of speculation since before the season started, and heavy defeats by Newcastle and Cronulla in the opening three rounds have intensified the pressure.

Elliott attended a meeting last week with Penrith chairman Don Feltis to discuss the Panthers’ poor start to the season, and the Herald has been told that officials were considering appointing assistant coach Steve Georgallis in a caretaker capacity.

But that appears an unlikely option, and it is understood that Elliott will be allowed to see out his fifth season in charge of the Panthers if the club decides to go in another direction.

Elliott still has the support of the players, but despite the Panthers finishing second on the ladder last season his days at the foot of the Blue Mountains appears numbered unless there is a rapid turnaround in the team’s performance.

It is believed Wigan’s Michael Maguire, former Warriors and Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson, and former Roosters coach and former Panthers star Brad Fittler are among the possible replacements under consideration if Elliott and Penrith part ways.

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Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin could become another candidate if Wayne Bennett decides to return to Brisbane next year.

Bennett is believed to have advised St George Illawarra officials he will be leaving at the end of the season, and the Broncos are vying for his services with Newcastle if Nathan Tinkler gains ownership of the Knights.

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald