Penrith Panthers

Penrith Panthers are an Australian professional rugby league football team based in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith. The team is based 55 km west of the centre of Sydney and at the foot of the Blue Mountains.

Penrith Panthers
Club information
Full namePenrith
Rugby League Club
Nickname(s)Liquorice AllSorts, The Riff, Chocolate Soldiers, Mountain Men, Riff, The Pennies
Founded4 July 1966
Current details
CEOBrian Fletcher
ChairmanDavid O’Neill
CoachIvan Cleary
CaptainJames Tamou
CompetitionNational Rugby League
2019 season10th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season
Premierships2 (1991, 2003)
Runners-up1 (1990)
Minor premiership2 (1991, 2003)
Wooden spoons4 (1973, 1980, 2001, 2007)
Most capped244 - Steve Carter
Highest points scorer1,572 - Ryan Girdler

Penrith were admitted to the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competition in 1967. Penrith struggled for almost twenty years before finally reaching their first finals series. The club achieved its first Grand Final appearance in 1990 but were beaten by the Canberra Raiders 18–14.. The following year the Panthers met the Raiders again in the 1991 Grand Final, this time winning the game 19–12.

Penrith's most recent premiership achievement was over the Sydney Roosters in the 2003 Grand Final where Penrith were considered underdogs but came out on top with an 18–6 victory.

Ivan Cleary was appointed head coach in October 2018. OAK Milk has been their major sponsor since 2012. Former Penrith premiership winning head coach Phil Gould was the club's general manager but departed in 2019.[1]


Varied Penrith teams had played for many years between 1912 and 1966 in the Western Districts League under the control of the Western Suburbs RLFC. In the Parramatta competition after Parramatta was admitted to the NSWRL in 1947, and also in a second-tier Sydney competition introduced by the NSWRL in 1962. By this time a single top level rugby league team had emerged in the Penrith area and in 1964 they became known as the Penrith Panthers. The Panther had been chosen as the Penrith emblem after a public competition won by a graphic artist from Emu Plains named Deidre Copeland.

In 1966 word was out that the New South Wales Rugby League in 1967 would introduce two new teams to the Sydney premiership. There were three teams vying for the two proposed slots, Penrith, Cronulla-Sutherland, and the Wentworthville Magpies. Cronulla-Sutherland had been assured of one place, leaving Penrith and Wentworthville to fight it out for the other place. The NSWRL eventually settled on Penrith due to their location and a win in the 1966 Second Division title.

After admission to the competition in 1967, they promptly came second last on the competition ladder. Hopes were raised in 1968 under new Captain-Coach Bob Boland when they won the pre-season competition and finished 8th, but this improvement proved to be short lived.

Penrith had trouble attracting the sort of experienced players they knew they needed, and although they always had good junior talent coming through, they did not get the on-field leadership they needed. Penrith needed to wait until they could develop their own 'stars'. They consequently struggled for almost 20 years before finally reaching their first finals series in 1985 with a team boasting new local star Greg Alexander and captained by Royce Simmons.

Penrith developed a strong team in the late 80s and started to build momentum. They made their first Grand Final appearance in 1990 with a team boasting notable players the likes of Greg Alexander, John Cartwright, Brad Fittler and Mark Geyer only to be beaten by the Canberra Raiders 18–14. The next year the Panthers met the Raiders again in the Grand Final, this time winning 19 to 12, including two tries by Royce Simmons the former team captain in his last game. They went on to play Wigan in England for the 1991 World Club Challenge but were beaten by the British champions 21–4.[2]

Their reign was short lived as in 1992 tragedy struck the club when the younger brother of Captain Greg Alexander, Ben, died in a car accident. Greg and close family friends Mark Geyer and Brad Fittler left the club soon after (Fittler left after the 1995 season as Penrith had signed with Super League) as well as coach Phil Gould left midway through the 1994 season.

Penrith were coached by former player and club captain Royce Simmons starting with the last six games in 1994 until the end of 2001.

They made the finals during the 1997 Super League season and then again in 2000 in the re-united NRL competition where they were defeated 28-10 by the Parramatta Eels in the elimination semi-final.

In the 2001 NRL season, Penrith came last on the competition ladder. The same year was Royce Simmons' last season as coach for Penrith, and he was replaced by John Lang from Cronulla in 2002, where they finished 12th. Their last game of 2002 showed hope as they proceeded to thrash the Northern Eagles, knocking them out of the final eight.

This showed the promise that was to come the next year and we all hoped Stu would go away. With the signing of Preston Campbell and Joe Galuvao, their side fired in 2003. Coming off 3 early season losses, they proceeded to lose only 3 other games for the rest of the competition with the local hero, Rhys Wesser scoring a new club record 25 tries. Penrith finished as Minor Premiers after convincingly accounting for the Parramatta Eels in the last round of competition. In the Finals series Penrith beat the Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors to reach the 2003 NRL Grand Final ..Entering the match as underdogs, Penrith defeated the Roosters 18–6, with winger Luke Rooney scoring two tries. Hooker Luke Priddis received the Clive Churchill Medal. The game is also remembered for a spectacular tackle by Scott Sattler in the 2nd Half, where he ran down and tackled Roosters winger Todd Byrne, who was sprinting down the left wing for an almost certain try. Penrith lost the 2004 World Club Challenge in the following pre-season, with the Bradford Bulls defeating them 22–4 in sub-zero temperatures.[3] The Panthers did however rally after that loss and once again qualified for the NRL semi-final series by finishing fourth and defeating St George Illawarra in the first week of the semi-finals before being knocked out by the Bulldogs in the Grand Final qualifier two weeks later.

Penrith then just failed to qualify for the Top 8 in 2005 finishing two points out and in 10th spot on percentages. They endured another below-par season in 2006 this time falling well short of the finals finishing the year in 12th position. The 2007 season turned out to be a poor one for the Panthers, they won only eight games, finished last and "won" the wooden-spoon for the second time in six years after losing to the New Zealand Warriors in the last round of the regular season competition.

In 2008, Penrith improved four spots on their 2007 performance by finishing in 12th spot out of 16 teams in the NRL competition with 10 wins, one draw and 13 losses. In 2009 they finished the season in 11th spot out of 16 teams in the NRL competition with 11 wins, one draw and 12 losses.

In 2010, Penrith had an excellent season, finishing in 2nd place in the ladder out of the 16 teams, with 16 wins and 9 losses. However, in the first round of the Finals series, they lost 22:24 at home to the Canberra Raiders and were knocked out in the second round when they lost 34:12 to the Sydney Roosters.

Michael Gordon played very well in that year, setting two new club records. In round 24, against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, he set a new club record for most points scored in one game: 30. By the end of the final game of the regular season, game 24, round 26, he had also set a new club record for the most points scored in one season at 270.

In 2011, following a terrible start to the season, the Panthers board decided to sever ties with coach Matthew Elliot at season's end. On 20 June 2011 he stepped down as coach and that same day Steve Georgallis was appointed caretaker coach for the remainder of the season. On 29 June Ivan Cleary was announced as coach for the next 3 seasons, with Georgallis staying as assistant coach for the remainder of the season.

After a 2010 season where the club went above and beyond expectations, they were looking to starting the new season on a high. It wasn't to be, however, when they were thumped by Newcastle at the newly named Centrebet Stadium, 42-8. While Round 2 went a lot better for the team, beating rivals the Eels at Parramatta Stadium 20-6, the year was marked by inconsistency as they finished 12th on the ladder.

2012 was again a disappointing year for Penrith, finishing second last with an 8-16 record. However, the club discovered some new talent in the form of winger Josh Mansour, a candidate for Rookie of the Year, as well as fullback Lachlan Coote's successful move to five-eighth.

2013 began poorly for the Penrith; after a first up win against the Canberra Raiders, they went on to lose their next five games. However, a more inspired performance against the Parramatta Eels in Round 7, where they won 44-12, was a trigger for a strong run; four wins from five games to see Penrith move into the top eight of the competition. The four wins included a 12-10 victory over the reigning premiers, Melbourne Storm, and a 64-6 thrashing of the New Zealand Warriors. However, after a year with mixed results, Penrith finished in tenth position, one win out of the top eight. At the end of the season, the likes of Luke Walsh, Lachlan Coote, Mose Masoe and Brad Tighe departed.

A playing roster overhaul saw the arrival of big name players such as Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Jamal Idris, Tyrone Peachey and Elijah Taylor at Penrith, while Matt Moylan took the vacant fullback role left by the departed Lachlan Coote.

The 2014 NRL season was a good year for Penrith as they qualified for the finals and made it to the preliminary final before losing to Canterbury 18-12.[4]

The Penrith Panthers celebrated their 50th year in the NRL in 2016.

In 2017, Penrith finished 7th on The NRL Premiership table and qualified for the finals. Penrith defeated Manly in week one of the finals 22-10 and then were defeated by Brisbane the following week 13-6 at Suncorp Stadium thus eliminating them from the competition.[5][6] The Penrith reserve grade side fared much better, firstly winning The Intrust Super Premiership by defeating Wyong 20-12 and then defeating The PNG Hunters the following week in The State Championship final 42-18.[7][8]

In 2018, Penrith finished 5th on the table at the end of the regular season during which coach Anthony Griffin was sacked four weeks before the finals series after falling out with Phil Gould. Griffin was then replaced by Cameron Ciraldo for the remainder of the season. In week one of the finals, Penrith easily accounted for the New Zealand Warriors to set up a clash with Cronulla. Although both clubs were admitted into the competition in 1967 this would provide the first meeting between the two clubs in a finals match. In a tight game, Cronulla defeated Penrith 21-20 ending their season.[9][10]

Before the commencement of the 2019 NRL season, Penrith were predicted by many to challenge for the premiership and reach the finals. Penrith got off to a bad start with the club winning only 2 of their first 10 matches leaving the team bottom of the table. Penrith would then go on to win their next 7 games in a row leaving them just outside the finals places. In a must win game against the Sydney Roosters in round 24, Penrith lost the match 22-6 at the Sydney Cricket Ground which meant that the club would miss out on the finals series for the first time since 2015.[11]


Throughout their history, the Panthers have gone through 10 major sponsors (These sponsors appear on the chest of the jersey).


Name and colours

Penrith's uniform colours in the 1966 NSWRL Second Division and earlier years were blue and white but due to the Cronulla-Sutherland side registering a predominantly blue jersey design first, and with Newtown, Canterbury, Eastern Suburbs and Parramatta also displaying various shades of blue, Penrith went in search of an alternative. A decision was made to change their colours to Brown with a white V.[12] This decision subsequently earned them the affectionate name of the "Chocolate Soldiers" thanks to radio commentator Frank Hyde who wrote in the Penrith Club journal "these chocolate soldiers from out west – they don't melt!".

The team had been referred to as the 'Panthers' as early as 1970.[13]

In 1974 Penrith changed their strip to a jerseys with brown and white vertical bars and again in 1991 they changed the colours to Black with White, Red, Yellow and Green stripes (drawing another confectionery-related nickname, the Liquorice Allsorts) until 1997 when Super League had all new jerseys made by Nike. The yellow was all but removed from the jersey at this stage. Then in 2000 they changed the colours once more to Black, Rust red, Teal green and White. In 2004 the design of the jersey changed once more to its current design. On Thursday, 23 November 2006 the club launched a new 'alternate/away' jersey predominately white in colour as a stark contrast to its main design.

Just before Christmas 2007 the Panthers launched a new 'home' jersey which is predominately black with light grey claw marks on either side at the front and back. For Season 2010, the Panthers have launched a new predominantly teal away jersey, this teal jersey connect with the away jersey from their 03 and 04 season's. With their official colours still Black, Teal green and rust red the alternate jersey was chosen to represent their secondary colour. The inception of Teal into the colour palet of Panthers links directly back to the unique colour their 2nd division jerseys had before brown and white.

In late October, 2010, the Panthers announced that rust would no longer be a secondary colour for the club. A new jersey was also launched, black with grey claw marks on either side. The club's teal jersey was also scratched in Round 4, 2011, when a new white jersey with grey claw marks and teal and black stripes was announced the club's new alternate jersey.

For the 2014 season the Panthers wore a redesigned black home jersey while the white away jersey prominently displays the new club logo. The Pink Jersey was also retained as a 3rd alternate strip, and used for Women in League and Breast Cancer Awareness rounds, or when both strips would clash with the opposing side. There was also a special Indigenous Jersey, worn in round 23 for the Indigenous Awareness round.

The Penrith Panthers unveiled a 50th anniversary logo to be used in 2016.[14]

In 2017, Penrith decided to revert to their Liquorice Allsorts jersey from The 1990s. The club had asked the fans in 2016 what jersey design they wanted and the majority voted for a return of the jersey the club won its first premiership in. Panthers executive general manager Phil Gould said “This is the jersey you wanted, We will respect our past as we set about creating our future – and this is the jersey that will carry us forward, You know in 50 years here at Panthers we’ve had over 50 jerseys, Now wouldn’t it be nice to have just one jersey for the next 50 years?,I don’t know if that is possible but this is where we need to start".[15]

Following their elimination from the 2018 finals, on September 26, 2018, the Panthers introduced a re-coloured logo to take effect in 2019.[16] The Panthers have now completely ditched teal and brought back the 'Liquorice Allsorts' colour scheme that has already featured in their jerseys since 2017.

Primary jerseys

Alternate jerseys

Heritage jerseys

Special jerseys

Nines jerseys

Penrith Panthers Leagues Club

The Penrith Panthers Rugby League Football Club is the major financier the Penrith Panthers Leagues Club (of the Panthers Entertainment Group).

The Panthers Entertainment Group has 6 licensed club sites in NSW – Penrith, Port Macquarie, Bathurst, North Richmond, Glenbrook and Wallacia. The clubs cater for a wide range of activities for members, their families and guests.


2020 squad

Penrith Panthers 2020 Squad
First Grade (Top 30) Squad Development Players Coaching Staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 26 November 2019
Source(s): [17]

2020 player transfers

Notable players

Representative players

Panthers Team of Legends

On 4 October 2006, a 40th anniversary Panthers Team of Legends was selected by a committee of experts and named at the Panthers' annual gala evening.[18]

No. Position Player
399 FB Rhys Wesser
7 WG Bob Landers
14 CE Grahame Moran
337 CE Ryan Girdler
280 WG Alan McIndoe
286 FE Brad Fittler
228 HB Greg Alexander
50 PR Terry Geary
181 HK Royce Simmons
No. Position Player
62 PR Tim Sheens
248 SR John Cartwright
100 SR Bill Ashurst
260 LK Colin van der Voort
383 RE Craig Gower
196 RE Brad Izzard
262 RE Mark Geyer
393 RE Tony Puletua

Hall of Fame

On 25 June 2016, the Panthers inducted the four inaugural members of its Hall of Fame - Grahame Moran, Royce Simmons, Greg Alexander, and Craig Gower.[19][20]


There have been 19 coaches of the Panthers since their first season in 1967. The current coach is Ivan Cleary.

NoNameSeasonsGamesWinsDrawsLossesWin %PremiersRunners-upMinor premiersWooden spoonsNotes
1Leo Trevena1967, 1973441023222.71973
2Bob Boland1968-19721103936835.5
3Jack Clare197422901340.9
4Mike Stephenson197516601037.5As captain-coach
5Barry Harris1975-7628921732.1
6Don Parish1977-78441033122.7
7Len Stacker1979-81661634724.21980
8John Peard1982-83521613530.8
9Tim Sheens1984-87984345143.9Club's first finals appearance in 1985
10Ron Willey1988-89473101666.0
11Phil Gould1990-941096144456.0199119901991
12Graham Rogers199210010.0Caretaker coach
13Royce Simmons1994-20011777649742.92001
14John Lang2002-061256506052.020032003
15Matthew Elliott2007-111114926044.12007Sacked Mid Season 2011
16Steve Georgallis20111140736.4Caretaker coach
17Ivan Cleary2012-15, 2019-1225506745.1Incumbent
18Anthony Griffin2016-2018724203058.3Contract terminated 6 August 2018
19Cameron Ciraldo2018630350.0Caretaker coach



Notable fans

Season statistics

Season Pos Pld W D L B F A +/- Pts Top Tryscorer Top Pointscorer Crowd*
1967 11th 2252150203352−14912Bob Landers (6)
David Applebee (6)
Bob Landers (88) 7,505
1968 8th 22110110298352−5422Bob Mara (9)Bob Landers (90) 10,628
1969 10th 2261150311398−8713Mal McMartin (7)Bob Landers (158) 4,974
1970 10th 2271140292406−11415Reg Hatton (11)Bob Landers (92) 7,180
1971 8th 22100120283372-8920Grahame Moran (8)Bruce Ward (85) 6,404
1972 11th 2251160278490-21211Noel Sing (7)Norm Gilligan (43) 4,959
1973 12th 2250170272525-25310Ron Lynch (7)Bruce Ward (39) 5,020
1974 9th 2290130353465-11218Glenn West (14)Reg Walton (136) 7,594
1975 11th 2271140312452-14015Gary Allsopp (8)Bill Ashurst (91) 9,087
1976 9th 2281130352333+1917John King (10)Ken Wilson (130) 9,429
1977 10th 2261150319408-8913Kevin Dann (9)Ken Wilson (97) 7,400
1978 10th 2242160206463-25710Ross Gigg (7)Phil Gould (77) 6,143
1979 10th 2262140311473-16214Steve Martin (13)Kevin Dann (61) 8,540
1980 12th 2221190294556-2625Marvin Hicks (12)Peter Schofield (81) 7,674
1981 11th 2280140305350-4516Kevin Dann (9)Kevin Dann (89) 8,876
1982 12th 2671180375441-6615Brad Izzard (9)Kevin Dann (66) 7,263
1983 11th 2690170476647-17118Chris Houghton (10)Mark Levy (74) 4,959
1984 7th 26121112409401-829Brad Izzard (11)Mark Levy (142) 8,564
1985 5th 24131102460379+8131Greg Alexander (13)Greg Alexander (192) 7,520
1986 8th 24111122446394+5227Greg Alexander (11)Greg Alexander (183) 7,520
1987 12th 2461172274399-12517Mark Robinson (7)Greg Alexander (57) 6,922
1988 5th 2215070394258+13630David Greene (12)Neil Baker (141) 9,079
1989 2nd 2216060438241+19732Greg Alexander (15)Neil Baker (131) 8,935
1990 3rd 2215160415286+12931Alan McIndoe (14)Greg Alexander (170) 10,025
1991 1st 2217140483250+23335Graham Mackay (16)Greg Alexander (139) 11,844
1992 9th 22110110274309-3522Brad Fittler (6)Andrew Leeds (94) 10,967
1993 12th 2270150314428-11418Ryan Girdler (8)Greg Alexander (88) 9,463
1994 8th 22102100404448-4422Graham Mackay (15)Graham Mackay (108) 11,021
1995 14th 2290130481484-318Robbie Beckett (10)
Ryan Girdler (10)
Ryan Girdler (150) 8,022
1996 15th 217160363464+10115Robbie Beckett (9)Ryan Girdler (162) 5,351
1997 5th 189090431462-3118Ryan Girdler (11)Ryan Girdler (197) 7,673
1998 14th 2482140525580-5518Robbie Beckett (12)Ryan Girdler (134) 9,272
1999 10th 24111122492428+6427Ryan Girdler (18)Ryan Girdler (229) 12,495
2000 5th 26150110573562+1130Ryan Girdler (13)Ryan Girdler (210) 14,305
2001 14th 2670190521847-32614Chris Hicks (13)Ryan Girdler (124) 14,353
2002 12th 2470172546654-10818Rhys Wesser (19)Ryan Girdler (100) 11,008
2003 1st 2418062659527+13240Rhys Wesser (25)Preston Campbell (164) 17,771
2004 4th 2415092672567+10534Amos Roberts (23)Amos Roberts (156) 17,587
2005 10th 24110132554554026Rhys Wesser (14)Preston Campbell (190) 15,576
2006 12th 24100142510587-7724Rhys Wesser (19)Preston Campbell (163) 11,579
2007 16th 2480161539607-6818Michael Jennings (15)Michael Gordon (150) 12,035
2008 12th 24101132504611-10725Michael Jennings (12)Michael Gordon (120) 10,899
2009 11th 24111122515589-7427Michael Jennings (17)Michael Gordon (126) 13,719
2010 2nd 2415092645489+15634Lachlan Coote (17)Michael Gordon (270) 13,056
2011 12th 2490152430517-8722Lachlan Coote (12)
David Simmons (12)
Michael Gordon (66) 12,299
2012 15th 2480162409575-16620Michael Jennings (10)Luke Walsh (97) 10,858
2013 10th 24110132495554-5926David Simmons (19)Luke Walsh (159) 10,337
2014 4th 24 15 0 9 2 506 426 +80 34 Josh Mansour (15) Jamie Soward (155) 11,462
2015 11th 24 9 0 15 2 399 477 -78 22 David Simmons (9) Matt Moylan (50) 11,544
2016 6th 24 14 0 10 2 563 463 100 32 Josh Mansour (16) Nathan Cleary (118) 13,567
2017 7th 24 13 0 11 2 504 459 46 30 Nathan Cleary (11) Nathan Cleary (228) 12,922
2018 5th 24 15 0 9 1 517 461 56 32 Waqa Blake (13) James Maloney (126) 14,204


  1. "Phil Gould confirms Penrith exit but denies Cleary falling out". The Guardian.
  2. Super League Europe – World Club Challenge 1991 Archived 6 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Super League Europe – World Club Challenge 2004 Archived 6 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Canterbury hold out Penrith to book grand final berth". ABC.
  9. "Anthony Griffin sacked". ABC.
  10. "Cronulla eliminate Penrith in semi final showdown". WWOS.
  11. "Panthers torch $3 million in dud investments … to go backwards". Fox Sports.
  12. "NRL 2016: Penrith Panthers celebrate 50 years; the moments and people that shaped the club". Daily Telegraph. 10 March 2016.
  13. Alan Clarkson "Eight tries in Souths' 38-5 victory" (29 March 1970) The Sun-Herald p. 46
  14. "Penrith Panthers". Twitter. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  17. "Player Profiles". Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  18. "A Team of Legends". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  19. "Four Panthers enter Hall of Fame". 25 June 2016.
  20. "Panthers celebrate season 50 with gala dinner". Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2016.
  21. Riccio, David (28 February 2010). "NRL wants fans to feel alive". The Sunday Telegraph. Australia: Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  22. "Panthers pack pre-season punch". Daily Telegraph. Australia. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  23. "Patrick Cummins seals famous Aussie Victory". Daily Telegraph. Australia. 25 November 2011. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  24. Nicolussi, Christian (16 January 2019). "Josh Mansour lookalike ready to do west proud in Big Bash". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  25. Rakic, Josh (8 January 2010). "Year of the Cat? It's no Pipe dream, says Fanning". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  26. "Celebrity tipping for NRL grand final". Australia: AAP Sports News. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 5 October 2009.


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