Penrith is a club overflowing with talent. So much so that sometimes promising players get stuck behind established young superstars. Such is the lot of Sean O’Sullivan, who, in the years since his debut in 2018, has become quite the journeyman in search of game time.
Nothing has ever seemed to stick for him, with stints at the Sydney Roosters, Brisbane Broncos, New Zealand Warriors and now the Penrith Panthers.
Now that journey is set to have a new chapter after O’Sullivan signed a three-year deal with incoming side, the Dolphins, next season.
So why would anyone leave a team as dominant as Penrith? The 23-year-old has now told us.
“Being able to get coached under Wayne is pretty cool for a young player. He’ll be perfect for me. The chance to be the halfback is something I couldn’t really turn down,” O’Sullivan told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I spoke to him a couple of times when I was going through that [contract negotiation] process. I don’t speak to him much now, he leaves me alone and I’m sure he understands I’ve got a job to do at Penrith. Come November 1, I’m sure he will pick up the phone.”
Currently, O’Sullivan is in the role of fill-in for the suspended Nathan Cleary, and despite the lack of consistent minutes, this stand-in opportunity has allowed him to play his best footy.
O'Sullivan's success in winning every game he played over the State of Origin period is proof of his talent and the faith Ivan Cleary has in him, which explains his emotional reaction to having to leave.
“It was just tough because, honestly, I love this club so much. I don’t think people understand how tight we are as a group,” O’Sullivan said.
“We had our Kiama camp week and just little things like when we go out for breakfast, there are 14 boys coming for breakfast. It’s just, we have a connection here that is unbreakable.
“It’s quite upsetting thinking I’m not going to be a part of it. On an individual thing, I had to do it for myself and for my career.”
O’Sullivan will likely continue to replace Cleary for the remainder of his suspension before the finals come around and business as usual resumes.