Sunday, April 2, 2023
HomeSportsPenrith's talent drain is concerning but Liam Martin's re-signing proves they remain...

Penrith’s talent drain is concerning but Liam Martin’s re-signing proves they remain on the right track

- Advertisement -

Penrith’s never-ending struggle to maintain control over their salary cap has been one of the major stories within the NRL news cycle over the past 12 months. 

Numerous stars have come and gone amidst an unprecedented level of success that has them aiming for a fourth consecutive grand final in 2023, while a third premiership triumph in a row is firmly within their grasp. 

Liam Martin extends his stay at Penrith after finally signing new contract 

Liam Martin has pledged his future to the club which should come as a welcome boost and a sign that they aren’t ready to relinquish their place at the top of the table just yet. 

The two-time premiership-winning backrower still had a year remaining on his deal, but his extension will take him through until the end of the 2024 season.

MORE: Tom Trbojevic ready to ‘own the ground’ for Manly as he returns from reconditioning trip

“It means the world to me to re-sign with the Panthers,” Martin said. 

“This club gave me my first opportunity when I was 17 and it’s become a second home for me. 

“I’m really happy to be staying here and I’m really excited for the future at the club and what we can build on following what we’ve already accomplished.”

Martin has enjoyed a rapid ascent since making his debut for the Panthers four years ago; playing in 86 matches for the club, as well as six State of Origin games for New South Wales and five Tests for Australia. 

The representative forward has built an uncompromising reputation owing to his rampaging carries close to the line and the sheer amount of venom in his hits.  

At last year’s World Cup, Martin’s future was the source of conjecture with a number of rivals reported to have been circling and interested in acquiring his services. 

Although the local junior has displayed his loyalty by agreeing to fresh terms that will extend his stay at the foot of the mountains to just shy of a decade. 

Parramatta and St George were allegedly watching his situation closely, but Penrith have managed to hold onto another of their stars, following the recent re-signing of Brian To’o. 

This hasn’t always been the case over the last few years though, with the club paying a significant price for their sustained success. 

Penrith’s talent drain is concerning but they remain on the right path 

The longevity of the empire that Ivan Cleary and co have managed to build out in Western Sydney has been questioned of late. 

The foundations have been compromised given the exodus of top-range talent, as the inevitability of a good thing coming to an end came rushing into focus. 

Key cogs have departed before with Dally M Centre of the Year Matt Burton making the now well traversed trek across to the Bulldogs. 

Yet their loss of talent has started to flow much more freely with Viliame Kikau joining Burton at Canterbury and Api Koroisau moving to the Wests Tigers.

MORE: Could Karl Oloapu’s arrival spell disaster for Kyle Flanagan at the Canterbury Bulldogs?

Stephen Crichton is the latest to leave after also linking up with Cameron Ciraldo in Belmore, as Penrith’s famed junior nursery is forced to deliver once more alongside the astute purchases of some overlooked or underappreciated talent in the form of Luke Garner, Zac Hosking and Tyrone Peachey.

Crichton’s defection to the Dogs, in particular, raised the prospect of the Panthers reign being on its last legs given the considerable drain of talent that has occurred since lifting their first premiership in 18 years. 

A considerable amount of their cap has been taken up by Nathan Cleary alongside Isaah Yeo, James Fisher-Harris, Dylan Edwards and To’o. 

Therefore, the club’s ability to prioritise re-signing their premiership heroes on improved terms hasn’t always gone according to plan. In fact, they have had to adopt a different strategy of late.

GAMING SURVEY: Complete short survey for chance to win international football shirt of your choice!

In recent times, they have rarely shopped in the free market due to the continuing rise of their local juniors.

The Panthers swept all before them last season, resulting in a milestone achievement which saw their NRL, NSW Cup, Jersey Flegg and SG Ball side’s claim their respective premierships.

But having been slowly picked off by rivals, Penrith currently find themselves lacking in some areas for experience and quality where once it was abundant. 

Previously, they were able to keep the cure nucleus of their group together with more half of their 2022 premiership-winning team against Parramatta plucked straight from their junior system. But that time may be over.  

However, Martin’s re-signing proves the mood within the camp is still overwhelmingly positive and there is plenty of more fight left in the Panthers yet.  


- Advertisment -

Most Popular