Panthers

Penrith Panthers beat South Sydney 14-12 in the NRL grand final

The 23-year-old halfback calmly slotted the extras after an intercept try from winger Stephen Crichton 13 minutes from time as the Panthers earned some redemption for their loss to Melbourne Storm in last year's final.

"I've been dreaming of this moment for all my life and finally it's here. We did it!," man of the match Cleary said after embracing his father, Panthers coach Ivan, on the Lang Park pitch.

"We had the hurt of last year and did it the hard way."

The family heartbreak behind Brian To'o's try celebration during Penrith's win over the Tigers

To'o today was back to his usual destructive best, playing in his first game in over a month after being sidelined with an ankle injury.

The superstar Blues winger for the 15th time this season amassed more than 200 run-metres and came up with a try as the Panthers edged closer to claiming back-to-back minor premierships with one round remaining.

Moments after crossing for a try during the second half, To'o showcased his rock-the-baby celebration and blew out a kiss as part of a tribute to his younger nephew who passed away recently.

Unbeaten Panthers keep the winning bug over Knights to stay top of NRL

In a high-quality game on Thursday night where Kalyn Ponga was dangerous as ever for Newcastle, Penrith's young guns Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary still had the last laugh.

James Fisher-Harris was also immense in the middle for the Panthers, who have still only conceded two tries in the second half of games this year.

With the score stuck at 10-6 for what felt like an age after the break, Penrith looked in danger of dropping their first game of the year in round seven.

But in the big moments, Penrith just keep stepping up and winning.

Panthers announce BlueBet Stadium name change

For at least the next two seasons and effective immediately, the club's home ground in Penrith will be known as BlueBet Stadium.

"For a number of years Panthers intentionally retained the naming rights to our home ground," Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said.

"However the significant and ongoing financial impact of COVID-19, combined with the considerable investment from BlueBet, made this a fantastic opportunity we simply couldn't pass up.

Leota to wipe quiet achiever tag ahead of promotion

The Panthers will turn to Leota to beef up the side's starting pack following the departures of 267-game veteran James Tamou, new Bulldog Jack Hetherington and Super League-bound Zane Tetevano in the off-season.

While Leota isn't on his front-row partner James Fisher-Harris's level of quietness around the group, he's also a player that likes to keep to himself off the paddock.

The usually silent Fisher-Harris was mic'd up by Panthers coach Ivan Cleary during a game in 2019 in a bid to see how much he spoke on the field.

'Triple agent' Luai to become comic book hero

Luai is one of dozens of NRL players to feature in Rugby Blood II, a creation of former Melbourne Storm prop Keith Mason, who has cast the gifted playmaker as a triple agent and renowned escape artist.

Luai represented the Maori All Stars in the 10-10 draw with the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday night and is also a proud wearer of the Samoan jersey. Add to that his inclusion in the NSW squad for last year's State of Origin series.

"I’m a big fan of anime and superheroes, so it is pretty cool," Luai said. "I was shown a photo of how I looked and I was stoked.

Panthers boss adamant contracts won't disrupt 2021 campaign

The NRL runners-up will return to pre-season training on December 14 but much of the focus throughout the side's break has centred around their young off-contract stars, including Stephen Crichton and Jarome Luai.

Fletcher maintains the Panthers, aside from losing skipper James Tamou, should be in a position to challenge for the title again in 2021 after falling short in October.

NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney frustrated by mistakes in Panthers defeat

A week after holding the St George Illawarra Dragons scoreless, the Warriors didn't fire a shot as they failed to score a single point for the second time this season.

Nothing seemed to go the Warriors' way, with all of the Panthers' five tries coming off mistakes or penalties. 

On top of that, the Panthers dominated possession and the ruck battle with Kiwis international James Fisher-Harris leading the way with a career-high 239 run metres and 44 tackles. 

Kikau's four-year wait to link with Cleary

In his first stint as Penrith coach Ivan Cleary met with Kikau to discuss a possible move to Penrith and along with general manager Phil Gould, convinced the then 19-year-old that Sydney's west was where his future would lie.

But by the time Kikau arrived, Cleary had been given his marching orders by Gould in a move that caught many off guard – including the up-and-coming talent.

With Cleary now back at the Panthers, the trio are now set to work together for the first time since the handshake agreement was made four years ago.

Panthers LB Kuechly suffers another concussion

Kuechly left Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles late in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.

He was officially ruled out midway through the third quarter and the Panthers said he was in the concussion protocol.

Kuechly was injured on a short LeGarrette Blount run from the one-yard line. Kuechly rushed from the right side of the Eagles line as Blount was dropped for a one-yard loss on a run to the left. Kuechly sat on the turf at Bank of America Stadium before slowing getting up and being walked to the sideline by trainers.