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FINALS FEELING EPIC SUNCORP CL ASH COULD DECIDE TOP EIGHT SPOT YEO OPENS UP > P35 Popular forward says nobody is safe in Panthers’ shake-up

CELEBRITY TIPSTERS > P36-37 Not sure who to back this weekend? Follow our local celebrity tipsters!

CLINTON MAYNARD > P40 Why thinking outside the box is working for the Canberra Raiders


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Friday, August 16, 2019 « the western weekender • extra time


THE FINAL WORD

v

FRIDAY, AUGUST 16 • 7.55PM | SUNCORP STADIUM | REFEREES: ASHLEY KLEIN & CHRIS SUTTON

PANTHERS 1

Dylan Edwards

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Josh Mansour Stephen Crichton Brent Naden Brian To’o James Maloney Nathan Cleary James Tamou (c) Mitchell Kenny James Fisher-Harris Viliame Kikau Liam Martin Isaah Yeo Sione Katoa Spencer Leniu Moses Leota Reagan Campbell-Gillard Dean Whare 19 Will Burns

the western weekender • extra time » Friday, August 16, 2019

MATCH PREVIEW

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CHANNEL 9 FOX LEAGUE

Brent Naden in action against Cronulla. Photo: Megan Dunn

TROY

DODDS With a month to go in the regular season, the Finals picture remains extremely unclear with the Panthers, Broncos, Sharks, Tigers and maybe even the Warriors fighting for the final two spots in the top eight. While every game over the final four weeks of the season is worth two competition points, there’s an extra advantage up for grabs whenever any of the sides involved in that battle for the last two positions play each other. Such an example presents itself tonight with Brisbane hosting Penrith at Suncorp Stadium. Should the Panthers win it would put them three points clear of the Broncos, but if the home team gets up they’ll leapfrog Ivan Cleary’s side and start

to seriously believe that September footy is a realistic prospect. Penrith are coming off a tremendous 26- 20 victory over Cronulla last Friday night, with the victory highlighted by the performances of the club’s next generation of stars. Brisbane meanwhile narrowly escaped with the points over the Cowboys, scoring in the dying moments of what was one of the year’s more mundane contests. If you think you know what’s going to happen in this game, you’re lying. Here we have perhaps the competition’s two most inconsistent teams, with every result believable given the way they’ve gone up and down like yo-yos this season. Both sides would have grabbed plenty of confidence out of their victories last weekend. Brisbane desperately needed the win after being spanked by competition leaders Melbourne the previous week, while

2GB 873 ABC 702 the Panthers were still stinging from that disappointing loss to Canterbury when they took the field at Panthers Stadium last Friday night. Penrith’s young guns certainly stole the show, but with youth comes inconsistency and there’s certainly some concern that the likes of Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford and Andew McCullough could expose some of the team’s weaknesses. That’s why the return of James Maloney is so important. Despite Matt Burton’s excellent debut, a clash of this nature on the grand Suncorp Stadium stage needs good game management, and Maloney certainly offers that. For me it’s the battle of the forwards that offers the contest’s most intriguing subplot. The likes of Matt Lodge, Payne Haas and Tevita Pangai Junior have been dominant in Brisbane’s victories this season, while James Fisher-Harris, Viliame Kikau

1

Anthony Milford

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Corey Oates Kotoni Staggs Gehamat Shibasaki Jamayne Isaako Darius Boyd (c) Jake Turpin Matt Lodge Andrew McCullough Payne Haas David Fifita Tevita Pangai Junior Joe Ofahengaue James Segeyaro Thomas Flegler Rhys Kennedy Patrick Carrigan

and James Tamou have really stood up for Penrith. You can even throw Moses Leota into that mix – he’s gone from a fringe first grader to one of the first blokes you’d select each week, and most importantly he appears to be having fun doing it. Suncorp Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Panthers, including earlier this year when the Wests Tigers blew them off the park in Magic Round. Brisbane also put 50 on Penrith at Suncorp last season. That home ground advantage could be enough to get Brisbane home, but I’m willing to back that the Panthers will take this opportunity to go three points clear of the Broncos with open arms. If the Panthers can survive the first 20-25 minutes, I’m confident they’ll do enough as the match draws on to win. There’s just too much enthusiasm there at present. Tip: Panthers by 8.

33


Friday, August 16, 2019 « the western weekender • extra time

PANTHER RUMBLINGS

with the Masked Panther

BAZ BACK?  There’s a pretty strong whisper doing

the rounds that former Manly coach Trent Barrett could be returning to Penrith next season, potentially as an assistant to Ivan Cleary. Barrett and Cleary worked together during Cleary’s first stint as coach of the Panthers. Watch this space.

 Talking of strong whispers, I’m hearing former Panthers captain Peter Wallace could end up in the coaching box next year too, potentially in the lower grades.

 It seems obvious that the next veteran

Panther to have his future at the club questioned is Dean Whare. The 29-yearold is still contracted for the 2020 and 2021 seasons but his demotion to reserve grade last weekend could signal signs of an early departure. Whare was told as early as last Monday that he wouldn’t be playing against the Sharks last Friday night, with Steven Crichton being handed his debut in the centres. The Panthers did reasonably well to keep Whare’s demotion under wraps until a few hours before kick-off, though I did hint at it in last week’s column.

 Last week’s three debutants – Matt

Burton, Stephen Crichton and Spencer Leniu – certainly had plenty of support from friends and family. All three were given 120 tickets each by the club to distribute to those wanting to cheer them on, and every single ticket was snapped up quickly. Pictured is Burton with his group of friends, who probably cheered louder than anyone last Friday.

 I’m told a phone conversation between

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and Panthers Chairman Dave O’Neill about the consistency of the judiciary last week got rather heated. Greenberg was left with no doubt about Penrith’s thoughts on the current system, which has become nothing more than a lottery.

 For the first time in a year former

Panthers boss Phil Gould and ex-coach Anthony Griffin found themselves just metres from each other last Friday night. Gould was working for Channel 9, now

free to commentate on Panthers games, while Griffin was in the commentary box for Fox League. There’s no love lost between the pair and we doubt they caught up for a Scotch Finger in the media kitchen.

 The Tyrone Peachey rumours keep

going up and down like a yo-yo. A few weeks ago it was almost certain that Peachey was coming back to the Panthers in 2020, but over the weekend reports emerged that he may be willing to stick it out on the Gold Coast under new coach Justin Holbrook. This week however I’ve heard that the Peachey deal is still on. Penrith will certainly have the money, but still believe Peachey is over-priced.

CC TYRES FAMILY-OWNED & OPERATED, WITH OVER 60 YEARS SERVICING THE PENRITH REGION.

Spotted: Grant Atkins, fresh from refereeing the Panthers v Sharks match last Friday night, shopping at Westfield Penrith on Saturday.

Staying on brand, Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary sat down to watch ‘All or Nothing’ this week, a docuseries focused on the Carolina Panthers in the NFL.

 For those already eagerly awaiting the

2020 NRL Draw, I’ve been told that the opening game of the new season will be hosted by the North Queensland Cowboys at their new stadium.

 How good was it that the Panthers

didn’t warm-up on the field last Friday

night? It was the first time in years they stayed behind closed doors, adding to the atmosphere for both the fans and players. It wasn’t the only shake-up to the matchday routine for the Panthers, with Ivan Cleary coaching from the touchline for just the second time this season and the first time at home.

 Recently a Penrith City Councillor

suggested more statues are needed of prominent people from the Penrith area. It got me thinking – where’s the Brandy or Royce statue at Panthers Stadium?

 Have you heard a rumour or spotted a

player out and about? Email maskedpanther@westernweekender.com.au.

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Isaah Yeo in action against the Sharks. Photo: Megan Dunn

the western weekender • extra time » Friday, August 16, 2019

FEATURE

THAT’S BUSINESS ISA AH YEO BACKS CLEARY’S SHAKE-UP AT PANTHERS NATHAN

TAYLOR Hardworking Penrith Panthers backrower Isaah Yeo says he can understand why the club is going through a mini makeover under coach Ivan Cleary. Since Cleary’s return to the foot of the Mountains late last year, the former Tigers and Warriors coach has moved on several players for various reasons including performance and pay packet. Veteran lock Trent Merrin was the first to get cut loose, taking up a rich offer with Leeds in the English Super League last November. In June, both Waqa Blake and Dallin Watene- Zelezniak were granted an early release from their contracts to continue their careers at the Eels and Bulldogs respectively. While just last month, decorated five-

eighth James Maloney announced he would be leaving the Panthers a year early to take up a lucrative deal to end his career in France. Unsurprisingly those four big names may just be the start with Reagan Campbell- Gillard, Jack Hetherington and Dean Whare all in the mix to be moved on as well. While Penrith fans are frustrated at the prospect of another rebuild, it has opened up numerous opportunities for a wave of new and exciting talent to make their mark. This year alone Penrith have debuted eight players in first grade, with Matt Burton, Stephen Crichton and Spencer Leniu the latest to hit the big stage. Speaking with Extra Time, Yeo said Penrith’s poor start to the year was probably the catalyst for many players being told to look elsewhere. “Ivan inherited this squad from Gus (Phil

Gould) and Hook (Anthony Griffin), he’s blooding some youngsters and it’s probably fair enough,” the 24-year-old said. “We weren’t playing so well and I think the players he’s brought in have really injected some life into the team and were a major part in us going seven- in- a- row recently. “All credit to Ivan for having faith in them and giving them an opportunity.” While supporters often get upset when their favourite player departs ahead of time, the stars of the game see it very differently. Yeo said players understand the business of rugby league and that there are often no hard feelings when they move on to greener pastures. “That’s football, it doesn’t last forever and a lot of players that have been moved on were getting into the latter parts of their careers and had opportunities to extend their careers elsewhere,” he said.

“Trent Merrin was fortunate enough to go to Leeds on good coin and he’s the captain over there at the moment. Jimmy Maloney also got a wonderful opportunity at the only club he wanted to play at over there, Catalans.

“THAT’S FOOTBALL, IT DOESN’T LAST FOREVER” “Obviously you’d love to see everyone stay while you’re here but that’s just not how it happens in rugby league. I’m sure at some stage in the future it will happen to me and I’ll be moved on – I’d like to hope not – but that’s just the life of a footballer.”

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Friday, August 16, 2019 « the western weekender • extra time

CELEBRITY TIPSTERS

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Friday, August 16, 2019 « the western weekender • extra time

FEATURE

THE NEXT GENERATION NATHAN

TAYLOR With hundreds of friends and family in the crowd watching on, two of Penrith’s latest debutants – Spencer Leniu and Stephen Crichton – kicked off their NRL careers in style last Friday night. Barely old enough to drink and vote, the pair took their opportunity in first grade with both hands and have been rewarded with a second outing in Brisbane tonight. While 18-year-old Leniu had been on the cusp of making his NRL debut for the last few weeks, it was Crichton’s late inclusion over experienced centre Dean Whare that really shocked the league. The 18- year- old St Clair junior recalled the conversation he and coach Ivan Cleary had before his selection in the top grade. “I looked up to Dean Whare and when Ivan came in and said he wasn’t in form, I thought ‘that’s big shoes to fill’ – I did my homework straight away,” Crichton said. “Dean’s been alright about it. He still came and talked to me and wished me luck throughout the week. He kept me comfortable.” While Crichton’s inclusion was kept secret from the public right up until game

day, Leniu was able to celebrate his selection all week. Crichton said he discovered he was making his debut alongside his former school friend over a surprise video call. “Spencer FaceTimed me for the first time in a long time and when I answered it he was crying. Spence said ‘I’m making my debut with you’ and then we both started crying,” Crichton admitted. “To debut with him was unreal. I grew up with him, we went to the same high school and ever since I met him he’s been that humble kid always putting others before himself.” After a gruelling 80 minutes of edge of your seat action, the pair couldn’t help but get emotional one more time as soon as the full-time siren sounded. “That’s just 18 years of hard work paying off in that moment. To see all my family and friends there, that was a real special moment for me. As much as I’ve sacrificed for this game, they’ve sacrificed even more,” Leniu said. “All those years of hard work and training went into that moment, it was unreal,” Crichton added. Leniu is expected to get more minutes against the Broncos tonight as coach Cleary slowly eases the young Kiwi wreck-

Some of Penrith’s 2019 rookies celebrate a try. Photo: Megan Dunn ing ball into the rotation. The Minchinbury junior said he’s looking forward to putting in work with his new teammates. “I still pinch myself every time I drive into these facilities, just being around this

group is a real honour for me and I look up to all of them,” Leniu said. “I’ve never played at Suncorp Stadium before, it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

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WW38277


the western weekender • extra time » Friday, August 16, 2019

NRL LADDER AND FIXTURES PD

W

D

L

B

F

Storm

20 17

0

3

1

529

248 +281 36

2 Roosters

20 14

0

6

1

519

323

3 Raiders

20 13

0

7

1

453

300 +153 28

4 Rabbitohs

20 13

0

7

1

446

363

+83 28

5 Sea Eagles

20 12

0

8

1

424

352

+72

26

6 Eels

20 12

0

8

1

443

416

+27

26

7 Panthers

20 10

0

10

1

331

394

-63

22

8 Broncos

20

9

1

10

1

357

409

-52

21

9 Sharks

20

9

0

11

1

415

413

+2

20

CLUB

+/-

PTS

+196 30

10 W. Tigers

20

9

0

11

1

367

411

-44

20

11 Warriors

20

8

1

11

1

377

439

-62

19

12 Knights

20

8

0

12

1

391

412

-21

18

13 Cowboys

20

7

0

13

1

317

416

-99

16

14 Dragons

20

7

0

13

1

365

465 -100 16

15 Bulldogs

20

7

0

13

1

262

436

-174

16 Titans

20

4

0

16

1

330

529

-199 10

16

Round 22

/ / / / / / / /

FACE IN THE CROWD

Thursday, August 15 7.50pm Lottoland Friday, August 16 6pm Cbus Super Stadium

Friday, August 16 7.55pm Suncorp Stadium Saturday, August 17 3pm McDonald Jones Stadium Saturday, August 17 5.30pm AAMI Park Saturday, August 17 7.35pm ANZ Stadium Sunday, August 18 2pm SCG

IS THIS YOU? Is this you at a recent Penrith Panthers game? If it is, you’ve won a Hoyts Family Movie Pass to use at any Hoyts Cinema in Australia! To collect your prize, visit the Weekender office at 2/42-44 Abel Street, Jamisontown and ask for Nathan Taylor.

Extra Time Issue Number 2019-023 PRODUCED BY The Western Weekender EDITOR Troy Dodds / 4722 2998 / troy.dodds@westernweekender.com.au

Sunday, August 18 4.05pm PointsBet Stadium

CONTRIBUTORS Nathan Taylor / Clinton Maynard / Andy Raymond SALES DIRECTOR Chris Pennisi / 4722 2998 chris.pennisi@westernweekender.com.au

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Friday, August 16, 2019 « the western weekender • extra time

40

Brought to you by

Smart recruitment is behind Raiders’ resurgence

CLINTON MAYNARD R

icky Stuart’s performance with the Canberra Raiders this season is a lesson for other clubs in thinking ‘outside the box’. As we near the end of the season the unfashionable side is heading for a top four finish, few critics predicted a Finals appearance let alone the Green Machine being a threat to the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm. So how has coach Stuart done it? It pays to look back at the history of the Canberra Raiders. When they came into the competition their performance was anything but stellar, like most new clubs they finished towards the bottom of the ladder over their first few seasons. The club has always been well backed financially and had access to quality juniors from not just the ACT but the surrounding New South Wales regional areas, but it wasn’t enough to compete with the powerful Sydney clubs. It wasn’t until the Raiders employed some ‘outside the box’ thinking when it came to recruitment. They looked towards Queensland and discovered an untapped wealth of talent. Mal Meninga was brought to the nation’s capital. Already

Genius? Raiders coach Ricky Stuart. Photo: Megan Dunn an Origin and Test star, the then Brisbane Souths centre was keen to test himself in the Sydney competition. Other top level Queensland talent followed him including

Gary Belcher and Steve and Kevin Walters. With the addition of a then untried coach in Wayne Bennett, they made the 1987 Grand Final. As the Queenslanders passed

on their knowledge to local juniors like Stuart and Laurie Daley they won the big one in 1989, becoming one of the dominant clubs of the era. However the introduction of the Brisbane Broncos meant Canberra’s access to Queensland- bred talent dried up, the success of the Melbourne Storm’s Queensland junior recruitment was a further blow and the Raiders have struggled for success ever since. Enter the club’s similar ‘outside the box’ recruitment strategy a few years ago, England. The recruitment of Josh Hodgson was inspired, he’s quickly developed into one of the NRL’s leading playmakers. Along with Elliott Whitehead he showed Raiders management there was gold to be found in the UK Super League. John Bateman and Ryan Sutton followed their Pommy mates and Bateman in particular has quickly established himself as one of the comp’s leading forwards. Next year they add test half George Williams. It’s taken a very different recruitment strategy but it is one that could see the Raiders enjoy a period of success they haven’t had since the 1990s.

WW36245


 On the player front, Craig Young, Stac-

the NRL from News Corp Australia, where she is the current General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Relationships.

 Roosters coach Trent Robinson has

questioned the NRL’s stripping rule, pondering what advantage it has added to the game. “What is it, has that added to the spectacle of our game?” Robinson asked after his side’s narrow win over Canberra on Sunday. The Raiders have become the masters of one-on-one strips since amendments to the stripping rule were introduced.

ey Jones, Ruben Wiki and Danny Buderus have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said the four inductees were all worthy recipients of the honour. “All four of our player inductees will stand proudly alongside the 106 players who they will join in the Hall of Fame,” Mr Greenberg said. “These are some of the best players of their generations, and they will now join the best of the best. They each dominated their respective eras and commanded enormous respect. They still do.”

 There was double drama on Mac-

 Liz Deegan has been appointed to the

 Eels captain Clint Gutherson says the

newly created executive role of Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at the NRL. Ms Deegan will be responsible for developing and leading the strategic communication strategies which will work collaboratively across all core areas of the business, especially in relation to brand, people, broadcast, content and media. She joins

quarie Sports Radio on Tuesday morning. Breakfast host Mark Levy was off for a scheduled medical procedure, while his sidekick Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddell only made it half-way to work before calling in sick. Clinton Maynard filled in. side is desperate to play a home Finals match at Bankwest Stadium. “If we can get a home Final at Bankwest that’s going to be special,” he said. “We had 21,000 there on the weekend and if there was to be a Finals game the whole west would be behind us and it would go mental.” The whole west? Settle, Clint.

Channel Nine commentator Ray Warren has been inducted into the Hall of Fame

Junior Kangaroos hooker Reece Robson has agreed to a four-year deal with the

North Queensland Cowboys, beginning in 2020.

WW38433

was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame on Wednesday night. Warren has headed up Channel Nine’s coverage of the game since 1992. He was inducted alongside the late Peter Frilingos and pioneering administrator JJ Giltinan.

WW37933

 The voice of rugby league, Ray Warren,

the western weekender • extra time » Friday, August 16, 2019

EXTRA MINUTES

41


Friday, August 16, 2019 « the western weekender

This month brings some exciting news to the local community, with Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital relocating to bigger premises. The vet has moved from 377 Wentworth Road to 49 Wentworth Road in Orchard Hills and are now just further down the road. With many customers travelling from Emu Plains, Leonay, Emu Heights and the Lower Blue Mountains with their pets, the new premises have been renovated to accommodate a veterinary hospital. The premises are huge! There are double brick walls, 3m high ceilings and a green, bull-nosed verandah around the front of the building. They even have a concrete driveway and car park. There is an off-leash park in the front yard for you and your dogs to enjoy. Camille purchased the veterinary hospital business nearly 9 years ago and there has been steady and continual growth of the business in this time. They started off with four staff and have now grown to 16 staff members and have definitely outgrown their previous premises. This is a wonderful achievement for a successful, local small business. They are so excited and cannot wait for you to visit their large country practice! The staff look forward to meeting you and your pets at Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital, so please feel free to pop in anytime and meet the team. For more information, you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ orchardhillsvethospital, visit their website at www.orchardhillsvet.com.au or call them on 4736 2027.

42

49 Wentworth Road, Orchard Hills P: 4736 2027

camille@orchardhillsvet.com.au www.orchardhillsvet.com.au WW38327

Profile for Western Sydney Publishing Group

Extra Time August 16  

August 16 edition of Penrith's #1 coverage of the NRL

Extra Time August 16  

August 16 edition of Penrith's #1 coverage of the NRL