NRL Trial Match - Panthers v Sharks
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Kurt Falls of the Panthers kicks a goal during the NRL Trial Match between the Penrith Panthers and the Cronulla Sharks at CommBank Stadium on February 20, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers playmaker Kurt Falls is loving his time at the club but is open to joining another club if the opportunity arises.

Not a member of the Panthers' current top 30 squad, Falls was instrumental to the Panthers NSW Cup success last season. Partnering alongside Sean O'Sullivan, he helped guide them towards the Grand Final and premiership.

Unfortunately not to receive an NRL contract for this season; he signed on as a development player alongside Mavrik Geyer, Liam Henry, and Ativalu Lisati

As many clubs are struggling to find the right halves combinations, such as the Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights or Canberra Raiders, Falls could be a crucial mid-season signing.

He could also be used as a versatile utility off the bench for a contending team or a backup for their primary playmakers, as he did for the Panthers when Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary were playing in State of Origin.

Although Falls admitted to Zero Tackle that he loves being at Penrith, he is open to joining other clubs if the opportunity ever arises, just like good mate Sean O'Sullivan who joined the Dolphins earlier this season.

“I love it here; Penrith is my home,” Falls said to Zero Tackle.

“If opportunities come up, I'm sure I'll be able to talk to Ivan (Cleary) and the staff here about what's best for me and my career, and they'd put my interests at the forefront.”

“It's a conversation we'll have if we ever get there, but I'm happy where I am.”

NRL Rd 23 - Panthers v Rabbitohs
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers is tackled by Cameron Murray of the Rabbitohs during the round 23 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium, on August 20, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

A St Dominic's College graduate in Penrith, Falls, has known Nathan Cleary since 2014 when they played in the same Schoolboy Trophy-winning team.

A relationship that has continued to build over the years; he stated he had learnt much from the NSW and Australian halfback.

“He's been a good mate of mine since we were at school, and I just try my best to learn off him, and he's got so much knowledge of the game, and he's done so much already in his career,” he said to Zero Tackle.

“He's a good role model for me even though I'm older than him. It's good for me to learn off him. If I can play half the game that he does, then I'll be happy.”

While the 26-year-old discussed his future options and relationship with Cleary, he credited an assistant coach that has earned the respect of the playing group.

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Phil Gould talks with Peter Wallace during the round 16 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Manly Sea Eagles at Panthers Stadium on June 30, 2018 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Retiring in 2018 after 14 seasons and 240 games in the NRL, Peter Wallace joined the Panthers coaching staff immediately after announcing his retirement.

The departure of Cameron Ciraldo to the Bulldogs has allowed Wallace to fill his role and be a direct assistant under Ivan Cleary.

“I've been involved with Wal [Peter Wallace] for a few years now. During the COVID years, he was our (NSW) Cup coach, and obviously, those years got canned but got a good relationship with Wal,” he said.

“He's taught me a lot defensively more than anything. I feel like I've become a better defender under Wal, but he's stepped into his role seamlessly, moving into Ciro's [Cameron Ciraldo] job.”

“All the guys respect him. He's tough, he's resilient, and he was an outstanding player himself, so everyone looks up to him as well.”