PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06: Jarome Luai of the Panthers celebrates victory during the round 17 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the New Zealand Warriors at Panthers Stadium on July 6, 2018 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher wants to build a dynasty with the Panthers in keeping the team together with belief of further success in the future.

This will mean several stars would have to turn down lucrative offers from NRL rivals, with a host of the Panthers young guns becoming free agents at the end of the month.

Due to come off-contract at the end of 2021, they will be free to sign with rival clubs from 2022.

The Panthers will face Melbourne in Sunday’s Grand Final, with Fletcher remaining confident about keeping the squad together for years to come.

“Nothing changes next year and why can’t it stay like this for the next five years? You would never say you’re going to win a comp, but look at all their ages,” Fletcher  told The Sydney Morning Herald. 

“We’ve got the coach signed, the leading player [Nathan Cleary] signed … the system works and we don’t have to go reinventing the wheel.

“Would you rather be playing here for the next four or five years taking a few dollars less and playing in a winning side, or go somewhere else?”

As of November 1 several players are set to become, including Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Josh Mansour, Stephen Crichton, Matt Burton and Spencer Leniu.

Crichton is set to be one of the initial re-signings.

Nathan Cleary (22), Luai (23), Crichton (19) and James Fisher-Harris (24) are still building to their primes, with the Panthers not focussed on the open market and will instead look to invest in their own youth.

Fletcher spoke to the playing group about the clubs future back when the NRL confirmed the suspension of play due to COVID-19.

“I spoke to all the players and coaches on the 23rd of March when we closed down [the leagues club],” he said.

“I went over to them and I said, ‘it’s my job in the group to get everybody back employed. I’ll promise I’ll do my best to do that. If you blokes promise me you will go away and train hard and win plenty of football games we’ll be successful. I will get my job done if you can get your job done’.

“Everyone working in the academy, not one of them lost their job. They all took sacrifices with JobKeeper and going on leave. You can make good of a bad situation and we’re very thankful we’re playing.

“These kids we have are polite, a lot of them are bush blokes and they love playing rugby league. Nobody in our place puts their hand up to take the accolades, it’s all shared from Ivan down.”

All contract negotiations have been put aside as the Panthers chase their first title in 17 years.

Ivan Cleary’s side will have every single player available for selection for the Grand Final against the Storm.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure about Burton? Though his manager said he was keen to stay at Penrith, in a recent article. Would make a good future lock , with his size. Much like Wade Graham.
    Even if he does go? It’s not the end of the world. Daine Laurie would then get more opportunities in first grade. He’s a very good 5/8th or fullback.
    I believe there were some other quality halves due to be coming up from junior grades , to Canterbury Cup level for 2020 & in Jersey Flegg. Although they didn’t get a chance to play. Due to the COVID 19 non playing of other grades.
    Let’s hope to see many of them next season!
    So Burton is good & sad to see him go, if he does? Still, it’s just more opportunity for future stars to show their skills , at a higher level.

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