The 2014 post season player movements seem to be the most active in years. As we have seen here in the Queensland press, Brisbane have bought solidly with the likes of Anthony Milford, Darius Boyd and Adam Blair signing with the club. North Queensland have bought departing Broncos Ben Hannant and Jake Granville. And the Gold Coast have pinched a couple of ex Panthers in their quest to move up the ladder in 2015.
So we say farewell to:
Ethan Cook – two major injuries in back to back seasons limited Ethan Cook’s time at the club. He joined the club in 2013 from Newcastle along with Sam Anderson at the time. Cook will return to Central Newcastle in the local competition.
Luke Capewell – came to the club from Brisbane in mid 2013 as a back-up for Luke Walsh at half-back. Capewell couldn’t crack first grade but did steer the Panthers to the NSW Cup Premiership this year. He returns to Queensland with Redcliffe Dolphins next season.
Anthony Cherrington – recruited from Sydney Roosters in 2013, Cherrington was unable to make it to the National Rugby League side in his two seasons with the club. He will now move to the Queensland Cup where he will turn out for Redcliffe Dolphins in 2015.
Eto Nabuli – it’s a shame Panther fans didn’t get to see Eto Nabuli in the top grade with his strength and try scoring ability. Spotted in Fiji by Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns on a recruitment trip, Nabuli impressed in 2013 with twenty-nine tries in NSW Cup. This season he scored eighteen tries in our successful NSW Cup campaign. He moves to St George-Illawarra on a one year contract. He may get his chance with the departure of Canterbury-bound Brett Morris to make his National Rugby League debut at some stage next year.
Kierran Moseley – Moseley was part of our great National Youth Competition 2013 Premiership and got his chance in first grade in the second last round when Penrith were beaten on the bell by Manly at Brookvale Oval 26-25. It was a confident performance on debut. His future at the club was in doubt once Penrith signed Apisai Koroisau. Moseley will be a hit at the struggling Gold Coast Titans in 2015.
James Roberts – sacked from Penrith at the start of 2014, Roberts has made his way to the Gold Coast Titans and appeared twelve times for his new club. A guy who has blistering speed has struggled to behave off the field and his future with the Titans is in doubt after a recent police incident. In six games for the Panthers he scored six times. One hopes the youngster can get back on his feet because on field he can be a dangerous asset for any club.
Kevin Naiqama – joined Penrith in 2014 and was expected to be a regular National Rugby League player. The contract extension of Josh Mansour after a great season along with the rise of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak saw Naiqama move on to Wests Tigers. In his eight appearances for the club Naiqama scored seven tries with doubles against the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.
Wes Naiqama – Wes Naiqama made the move to Penrith with the club looking for experience as they looked towards junior development. He was restricted to NSW Cup this year after appearing for the Panthers eight times in the National Rugby League in 2013 where he scored two tries and kicked one goal. Naiqama at age 32 announced mid-season he would move to England and help the London Broncos return to the Super League after being demoted this year.
Ryan Simpkins – Simpkins signed with Penrith at a time of change following the departure of Trent Waterhouse, Petero Civoniceva and Frank Puletua at the end of 2011. He appeared for the club twenty-seven times in 2012 and 2013 scoring three tries. Hard working in defence, Simpkins now heads back home to the Gold Coast to resume his National Rugby League career.
Matt Robinson – a solid back rower that was plagued by injuries moves to the Gold Coast. He came to prominence with his debut in 2012 and put in some solid performances. In 2013, Robinson suffered two neck injuries that ended his campaign after round eleven’s win over Parramatta. This year he was considered a handy backup for Penrith with their deepening late season injury crisis. He was one win away from playing in the Grand Final. Matty will be missed by the club for his hard work ethic. Robinson represented Penrith thirty-two times and scored four tries.
Tom Humble – moved to Penrith in 2013 looking for an opportunity to play regular top grade football. He got his chance at five-eighth following Lachlan Coote’s long term injury. He received a setback following an ankle injury. This restricted his time at Penrith only making six appearances for the club in 2013. With the off-season signatures of Peter Wallace and Jamie Soward, and the preference of Will Smith and Isaac John at different parts of 2014 was a good indication that Humble wasn’t in the club’s future plans. He now moves to the new Queensland Cup franchise Townsville Blackhawks to continue his career.
Kevin Kingston – a true character of the game, Kevin Kingston’s retirement brought to an end ten years in the National Rugby League and 183 games. He turned out 105 times in Panthers colours, becoming captain in 2012 after Luke Lewis moved to Cronulla. Kingston’s career was set to end in 2013 with the rise of James Segeyaro but the club gave him a lifeline with a contract extension into 2014. Segeyaro become the Panthers preferred option and rightly so this year. A knee injury against Melbourne on August 25 ended his first grade career. A quicker than expected recovery allowed him to bow out a winner with a NSW Cup Premiership. Kingston will stay with the club in an off-field role.
Tim Grant – Panther born and raised, at the height of his time with Penrith reached New South Wales representative honours. A true leader of the Panther pack who matched it with some of the best in the competition. At one stage touted as a future captain of the club. His 2014 season was clouded by rumours about his future, and then subsequent departure to South Sydney. It seemed unfortunate as some fans would have preferred Grant over Sam McKendry who subsequently resigned with the club until 2019. Grant ran out for Penrith 122 times and crossed for three tries.
We would like to thank Vaipuna Tia Kilifi for his contributions to the club as he heads to the Queensland Cup with the Northern Pride.
At the time of publication the future of Nathan Smith is up in the air as he is off contract along with Tom Eisenhuth.