Here’s our second of our three part series looking at the 2014 Penrith Panthers player ratings.  A boost in membership numbers was offset by poor weather and Monday night football fixtures which saw our average attendances slightly rise from 2013.  In great news for Bathurst, Penrith took their game against Cronulla to Carrington Park which attracted just under nine thousand fans.  Our biggest crowd was against the Eels where 19,141 attended one of the slickest wins by the club all season in winning 38-12.

Read part one of our series here

In alphabetical order

Sam McKendry – it almost looked certain that Sam McKendry was going to be offloaded to another club at the same time Tim Grant was traded to South Sydney.  A change in the salary cap rules meant McKendry could stay at the club.  McKendry improved on last season but still has some way to go to fill the big shoes that Brent Kite will leave once he retires at the end of next season.  Was at his best when Penrith were on a roll and gaining momentum.  Hopefully next year we see Sam McKendry at his best and confident with his game.  Rating: B

Josh Mansour – an amazing year for Sauce.  Started off the season where he left off from the previous.  Full of confidence and not afraid to take on the opposition pack right up the guts.  That determination saw interest from Canberra Raiders mid-season, but the Panthers were able to secure his signature in the nick of time.  After struggling for tries in 2013, Mansour managed to cross fifteen times last season and become Penrith’s top try scorer.  Mansour was an unlikely Australian Representative before appearing for his State but you would think that New South Wales honour is not too far away.  He scored in Australia’s big win over Samoa on November 9.  He and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak give the Panthers an advantage out wide going into next season.  Mansour will miss the opening rounds of 2015 as he recovers from shoulder and ankle surgery over the shortened off-season.  Rating: A+

Sika Manu – it could be said that Sika’s 2014 wasn’t as good as the previous season. This could be because the Panthers pack was the strongest it’s been in years.  He was good on the fringes in attack and solid in defence.  One things for sure is that Manu has plenty of pride in playing for the club.  His efforts against the Titans at Robina whilst playing injured was sensational.  Word is that Manu will be with the club in 2015 despite speculation that he could be traded to the Sea Eagles.  Rating: B+

Kierran Moseley – just the one game in Panthers colours that came at a time when James Segeyaro was out for personal reasons and Kevin Kingston was unavailable through injury.  His one and only appearance against Manly was full of enthusiasm as the Panthers were pipped at the bell by the home side.  The Panthers loss is the Titans game and it won’t be the last time we see Moseley play National Rugby League.  Rating: B-

Matt Moylan – second year syndrome hits a lot of young footballers.  For Matt Moylan this wasn’t the case.  A sensational year for the twenty-three year old and it’s hard to fathom how much skill a player has with only thirty-nine matches to his belt.  And this year his game took one huge leap with the added responsibility to perform under pressure.  Multiple times during the year Moylan was the match winner. His most dramatic moment coming against the Bulldogs at Sporting Bet Stadium where his sideline conversion sealed a remarkable win.  We saw it repeated time and time again with Penrith’s final second win over Brisbane another example of Moylan’s influence on the result.  Rewarded with a Four Nations squad berth despite not appearing in the competition, that’s just the start of a big representative career ahead of him.  Rating: A+

Ben Murdoch-Masila – used during our horrible run of injuries towards the end of the season, Murdoch-Masila can hold his head high.  Solid performer off the bench doing what the coach asked of him.  If the Panthers have another injury crisis in 2015, he can be relied on to fill in and not let the team down.  Missed out on playing the VB NSW Cup Grand Final after being selected in our Qualifying Grand Final loss to South Sydney, but played one week later in our loss to the Northern Pride in the State Championship.  Rating: B-

Kevin Naiqama – a season where Kevin Naiqama arrived at Penrith then departed once the club decided their preferred options on the wing were Mansour and Watene-Zelezniak.  There’s no doubt that Naiqama has talent.  Speed to burn and can find the line, seven tries in eight matches is a testament to that.  The good news for Kevin is that the Wests Tigers have snapped him up and it would not surprise me if he plays close to the same amount of matches next season as he has played his entire career which is twenty-three to date.  Rating: B

Tyrone Peachey – avid Panther fans were keen to see Peachey in the club colours as he came from the Sharks with a huge wrap.  As the season went on, the impact of Peachey on-field was going from good to excellent.  One of his breakthrough performances was in our big win over Parramatta in round twelve where he carved the opposition apart and scored a double.  Peachey’s season was cut short when playing in the bogey number six position against Brisbane on July 14.  A pectoral injury ended his season.  I think we’re yet to see the best of Peachey and he could be the player to guide us to success in the next few years.  Rating: A

Nigel Plum – there’s been a lot of responsibility on Plum to start at prop and get the Panthers on the front foot.  This year his job was made easier with the recruitment of Taylor and Peachey. There doesn’t seem any stopping this fearless thirty-one year old in his tenth season in the National Rugby League.  He ended up pretty sick after attempting a charge down in our win in Newcastle on a weekend where his wife had given birth.  You could not ask for a better clubman than Plum.  Time is against him with the bruises he’s had over the years but provides great value to the club.  Rating: A-

Matt Robinson – restricted to nine games this season mainly because of the added experience in the forward pack this year with Elijah Taylor’s move to the Panthers. When called up to the top grade he didn’t disappoint and played consistent football.  He’s been unlucky over the last couple of years with some serious injuries limiting his time at the top level.  The Titans will get some good use out of the soon to be twenty-year old as he looks for more game time with the Queensland club.  Rating: B

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