Rugby League Club
|Nickname(s)||Mountain Men, Chocolate Soldiers, Pennies|
|Founded||4 July 1966|
Penrith, New South Wales (22,500)
|General Mgr.||Shane Richardson|
|Competition||National Rugby League|
|Premierships||2 (1991, 2003)|
|Minor premiership||2 (1991, 2003)|
|Wooden spoons||4 (1973, 1980, 2001, 2007)|
|Most capped||242 - Steve Carter|
|Most points||1,572 - Ryan Girdler|
The Penrith Panthers are an Australian professional rugby league football team based in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith. For the 2013 NRL season they will be coached by Ivan Cleary and captained by Kevin Kingston. Sports media personality Phil Gould is the club's manager of football operations. Their major jersey sponsor for 2013 will be OAK. Based 55 km west of the centre of Sydney and at the foot of the Blue Mountains, the Panthers 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 a 18–6 victory.
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 80's 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.
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 mid-way through the 1994 season, to be replaced by Royce Simmons.
The Panthers were coached by former player and club captain Royce Simmons starting with the last six games in 1994 until the end of 2001.
In the year 2001, they came last on the competition ladder. 2001 was Royce Simmons' last season as coach for the Panthers, 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. 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 against the Sydney Roosters. 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. 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.
The Panthers 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 the Panthers 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 the Panthers 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 seasons 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. Round 2 went a lot better for the team, when they beat the Eels at Parramatta Stadium 20-6. However, round 3 they again were smashed at home, losing 44-12 to the Sharks. A round 4 trip up to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to face the Broncos saw the team lose 18-10. Luke Walsh did not take part in that match after being injured in the previous game. Kevin Kingston played halfback, and the lack of scoring ability was shown in the result. The Raiders travelled to the Foot of the Mountains for a round 5 clash, and Penrith came out on top on this occasion, 36-10. Round 6 saw the Panthers play at home to Melbourne Storm, and a frustrating start to the season continued with a 25-10 loss. Manly was Panthers' next mission in round 7, and Matthew Elliot's position as head coach was looking shaky after they lost 22-16 at Brookvale Oval. A trip across the Tasman to Mt. Smart Stadium in Auckland didn't go so well once again for the team, losing 26-18 to the Warriors. A bye in round nine gave the team an opportunity to take a week off, and it worked wonders for the team when they returned to the field in round 11 to take down the Broncos 33-10 at Centrebet Stadium. However, round eleven was disappointing once again, losing to Wests Tigers 20-18 at Campbelltown Stadium. In a round 12 encounter at Centrebet Stadium, the team was totally dominant against a struggling South Sydney Rabbitohs outfit when they won 22-10. They kept their streak going with a 23-10 win over the Titans at Skilled Park before a week off in round 14. Ausgrid Stadium was the venue for round 15, when the team travelled up to Newcastle to play the Knights only to be defeated 16-12. Before the Panthers played the Cowboys in round sixteen, head coach Matthew Elliot was sacked and replaced by Steve Georgallis. The high flying Cowboys came to Penrith to play on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in round 16, and the Panthers took away the points with a 30-20 win. Another home game against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs was all to easy for Penrith, with a 20-6 victory. In round eighteen, the Panthers will face a frustrated Sydney Roosters team who languish in second last on the ladder.
Over their forty six years, the Panthers have gone through eight major sponsors (These sponsors appear on the chest of the jersey).
- FEENEY (1977)
- Alpha Micro (1984–85)
- Radio 2KA (1986–87)
- Penrith City (1988)
- Calphos (1989)
- Dadah Uniforms (1990-1994)
- Prospect Electricity (1995)
- Classifieds (1996)
- Sanyo (2000-2012)
- OAK Milk (2012–present)
Penrith currently hold the record for longest major sponsorship deal, Sanyo for "12 Great Years". In early 2012 unfortunately, the Panthers' sponsorship with Sanyo was ended, due to being taken over by Panasonic. It was looking as though Panthers would start the 2012 season with an empty jersey, until OAK Milk officially signed as the Panthers' major sponsor for the next three years.
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. 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.
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.
Primary Jerseys 
Alternate Jerseys 
Special 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 14 licensed club sites in NSW – from Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast to Lavington, in the south. The clubs cater for a wide range of activities for members, their families and guests.
2013 squad 
|NRL team squad||Coaching staff|
Updated: 26 September 2012
2012 signings/transfers 
|Player||Previous club||Years signed||Until the end of|
|Chris Armit||Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs||2 years||2014|
|Cameron Ciraldo||Newcastle Knights||2 years||2014|
|Clint Newton||Hull KR||2 years||2014|
|Geoff Daniela||Wests Tigers||2 years||2014|
|Ryan Simpkins||Tweed Heads Seagulls||2 years||2014|
|Matthieu Èzitore||Toulouse Olympique||2 years||2014|
Representative players 
Panthers Team of Legends 
On 4 October 2006 a 40 Year Panthers Legends Team was named.
- Leo Trevena: 1967, 1973
- Bob Boland: 1968–1972
- Jack Clare: 1974
- Mick Stephenson: 1975
- Barry Harris: 1975–1976
- Don Parish: 1977–1978
- Len Stacker: 1979–1981
- John Peard: 1982–1983
- Tim Sheens: 1984–1987
- Ron Willey: 1988–1989
- Phil Gould: 1990–1994
- Royce Simmons: 1994–2001
- John Lang: 2002–2006
- Matthew Elliott: 2007–2011
- Steve Georgallis 2011 (Caretaker)
- Ivan Cleary: 2012-
- Kurt Fearnley, Paralympic wheelchair racer
- Mick Fanning, professional surfer
- Matthew Nielsen, Olympic basketball player
- James Courtney, V8 supercar driver
- Leonardo Zappavigna, Australian professional boxer
- Patrick Cummins, Australian Cricketer
Season Statistics 
|Season||Pos||Pld||W||D||L||B||F||A||+/-||Pts||Top Tryscorer||Top Pointscorer||Crowd*|
|1967||11th||22||5||2||15||0||203||352||−149||12||Bob Landers (6)
David Applebee (6)
|Bob Landers (88)||7,505|
|1968||8th||22||11||0||11||0||298||352||−54||22||Bob Mara (9)||Bob Landers (90)||10,628|
|1969||10th||22||6||1||15||0||311||398||−87||13||Mal McMartin (7)||Bob Landers (158)||4,974|
|1970||10th||22||7||1||14||0||292||406||−114||15||Reg Hatton (11)||Bob Landers (92)||7,180|
|1971||8th||22||10||0||12||0||283||372||-89||20||Grahame Moran (8)||Bruce Ward (85)||6,404|
|1972||11th||22||5||1||16||0||278||490||-212||11||Noel Sing (7)||Norm Gilligan (43)||4,959|
|1973||12th||22||5||0||17||0||272||525||-253||10||Ron Lynch (7)||Bruce Ward (39)||5,020|
|1974||9th||22||9||0||13||0||353||465||-112||18||Glenn West (14)||Reg Walton (136)||7,594|
|1975||11th||22||7||1||14||0||312||452||-140||15||Gary Allsopp (8)||Bill Ashurst (91)||9,087|
|1976||9th||22||8||1||13||0||352||333||+19||17||John King (10)||Ken Wilson (130)||9,429|
|1977||10th||22||6||1||15||0||319||408||-89||13||Kevin Dann (9)||Ken Wilson (97)||7,400|
|1978||10th||22||4||2||16||0||206||463||-257||10||Ross Gigg (7)||Phil Gould (77)||6,143|
|1979||10th||22||6||2||14||0||311||473||-162||14||Steve Martin (13)||Kevin Dann (61)||8,540|
|1980||12th||22||2||1||19||0||294||556||-262||5||Marvin Hicks (12)||Peter Schofield (81)||7,674|
|1981||11th||22||8||0||14||0||305||350||-45||16||Kevin Dann (9)||Kevin Dann (89)||8,876|
|1982||12th||26||7||1||18||0||375||441||-66||15||Brad Izzard (9)||Kevin Dann (66)||7,263|
|1983||11th||26||9||0||17||0||476||647||-171||18||Chris Houghton (10)||Mark Levy (74)||4,959|
|1984||7th||26||12||1||11||2||409||401||-8||29||Brad Izzard (11)||Mark Levy (142)||8,564|
|1985||5th||24||13||1||10||2||460||379||+81||31||Greg Alexander (13)||Greg Alexander (192)||7,520|
|1986||8th||24||11||1||12||2||446||394||+52||27||Greg Alexander (11)||Greg Alexander (183)||7,520|
|1987||12th||24||6||1||17||2||274||399||-125||17||Mark Robinson (7)||Greg Alexander (57)||6,922|
|1988||5th||22||15||0||7||0||394||258||+136||30||David Greene (12)||Neil Baker (141)||9,079|
|1989||2nd||22||16||0||6||0||438||241||+197||32||Greg Alexander (15)||Neil Baker (131)||8,935|
|1990||2rd||22||15||1||6||0||415||286||+129||31||Alan McIndoe (14)||Greg Alexander (170)||10,025|
|1991||1st||22||17||1||4||0||483||250||+233||35||Graham Mackay (16)||Greg Alexander (139)||11,844|
|1992||9th||22||11||0||11||0||274||309||-35||22||Brad Fittler (6)||Andrew Leeds (94)||10,967|
|1993||12th||22||7||0||15||0||314||428||-114||18||Ryan Girdler (8)||Greg Alexander (88)||9,463|
|1994||8th||22||10||2||10||0||404||448||-44||22||Graham Mackay (15)||Graham Mackay (108)||11,021|
|1995||14th||22||9||0||13||0||481||484||-3||18||Robbie Beckett (10)
Ryan Girdler (10)
|Ryan Girdler (150)||8,022|
|1996||15th||21||7||1||6||0||363||464||+101||15||Robbie Beckett (9)||Ryan Girdler (162)||5,351|
|1997||5th||18||9||0||9||0||431||462||-31||18||Ryan Girdler (11)||Ryan Girdler (197)||7,673|
|1998||14th||24||8||2||14||0||525||580||-55||18||Robbie Beckett (12)||Ryan Girdler (134)||9,272|
|1999||10th||24||11||1||12||2||492||428||+64||27||Ryan Girdler (18)||Ryan Girdler (229)||12,495|
|2000||5th||26||15||0||11||0||573||562||+11||30||Ryan Girdler (13)||Ryan Girdler (210)||14,305|
|2001||14th||26||7||0||19||0||521||847||-326||14||Chris Hicks (13)||Ryan Girdler (124)||14,353|
|2002||12th||24||7||0||17||2||546||654||-108||18||Rhys Wesser (19)||Ryan Girdler (100)||11,008|
|2003||1st||24||18||0||6||2||659||527||+132||40||Rhys Wesser (19)||Preston Campbell (164)||17,771|
|2004||4th||24||15||0||9||2||672||567||+105||34||Amos Roberts (23)||Amos Roberts (156)||17,587|
|2005||10th||24||11||0||13||2||554||554||0||26||Rhys Wesser (14)||Preston Campbell (190)||15,576|
|2006||12th||24||10||0||14||2||510||587||-77||24||Rhys Wesser (19)||Preston Campbell (163)||11,579|
|2007||16th||24||8||0||16||1||539||607||-68||18||Michael Jennings (15)||Michael Gordon (150)||12,035|
|2008||12th||24||10||1||13||2||504||611||-107||25||Michael Jennings (12)||Michael Gordon (120)||10,899|
|2009||11th||24||11||1||12||2||515||589||-74||27||Michael Jennings (17)||Michael Gordon (126)||13,719|
|2010||2nd||24||15||0||9||2||645||489||+156||34||Lachlan Coote (17)||Michael Gordon (270)||13,056|
|2011||12th||24||9||0||15||2||430||517||-87||22||Lachlan Coote (12)
David Simmons (12)
|Michael Gordon (66)||12,299|
* Average home crowd
- Super League Europe – World Club Challenge 1991
- Super League Europe – World Club Challenge 2004
- Alan Clarkson "Eight tries in Souths' 38-5 victory" (29 March 1970) The Sun-Herland p. 46
- "Player Profiles". Penrith Panthers. Telstra BigPond. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Coaching Profiles". Penrith Panthers. Telstra BigPond. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- Riccio, David (28 February 2010). "NRL wants fans to feel alive". The Sunday Telegraph (Australia: Herald and Weekly Times). Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- Rakic, Josh (8 January 2010). "Year of the Cat? It's no Pipe dream, says Fanning". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Celebrity tipping for NRL grand final". Australia: AAP Sports News. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
- "Panthers pack pre-season punch". Australia: Daily Telegraph. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- "Panthers pack pre-season punch". Australia: Daily Telegraph. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- . Australia: Daily Telegraph. 25 November 2011 http://www.penrithpanthers.com.au/?s=article-display&id=45373. Retrieved 10 December 2010. Missing or empty
- Collis, Ian and Whiticker, Alan (2004). The History of Rugby League Clubs. Frenchs Forest, New South Wales: New Holland Publishers (Australia). p. 400. ISBN 1-74110-075-5.
- Official Penrith Panthers Web Site
- Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM Broadcaster of Penrith Panthers games
- Daily Telegraph – Penrith Panthers 2007 season feature
- Penrith Panthers History at yesterdayshero.com.au