The Penrith Panthers entered the NSWRL competition in 1967, and over the 50 years since have made three grand finals, winning two of them.
Making back-to-back grand finals in 1990 and 1991, they took on Canberra two years in a row, winning the second in one of the best grand final rematches in history. Their third grand final, also a winning effort came in 2003.
With that, here are their ten top players.
10. Scott Sattler
Sattler came to the Panthers in 1999, playing four years at the club. His last year in 2003 was his best, playing his one and only game of State of Origin for Queensland. But it was the grand final, try-saving tackle, rated one of the best in NRL history on Todd Byrne that he would be remembered for.
It’s very rare that I would allow one moment to be good enough to warrant a mention, but this is one of them.
9. Micheal Jennings
Jennings is the only player on this list who didn’t win a premiership, but that didn’t stop him from achieving great things.
Debuting in 2007, he played 177 games in Panthers’ colours, starting his representative while at the foot of the mountains, playing for NSW, Australia, the Prime Ministers XIII and Tonga.
While on debut for Australia he became only the fourth man to score a hat-trick of tries in a single game.
He is currently signed to the Parramatta Eels.
8. Steve Carter
Debuting in 1988, Carter played 13 years at Penrith and despite poor form and a horror run of injuries, broke the all-time games record for the club in 2001. He was a member of the 1991 grand final team and captained the club for several years in the 1990’s. He played one game for NSW in the 1992 Origin Series.
7. Mark Geyer
Geyer had two stints at the club with his first being the most successful. He played in both of the clubs 1990’s grand finals and if not sin-binned in the 1991 grand final his performance was worthy of the Clive Churchill Medal.
Geyer most memorable moment was when he almost came to blows with Wally Lewis at halftime of game two of the 1991 State of Origin series. In total, he played 135 games for the club and represented New South Wales and Australia three times each.
6. Rhys Wesser
A Rockhampton junior and a favourite of mine, Wesser was picked up by Penrith in 1998 and played 177 games for the club.
In 2002, he scored a Penrith club record of 19 tries, including three hat-tricks, and was dubbed “Rhys-Lightning”, becoming a crowd favourite with his acceleration and line-breaking ability. The following season Wesser bettered his own record by scoring 25 times, earning the title of the most prolific try-scoring fullback for a season in the history of Australian rugby league.
He played in the 2003 grand final and made four appearances for Queensland
5. Luke Priddis
Priddis came to the Panthers in 2001 after departing for the premiership-winning Broncos. In the 2003 grand final, he became the only Panthers player to win the Clive Churchill Medal as he scored a try and set up two more.
Adding to this, he was the first hooker to win the award. He played three games for NSW and one Test for Australia
4. Royce Simmons
In 1980, Simmons made his debut for Penrith and went on to play 238 games, the second highest in Panthers history. In the 1991 grand final, he scored two tries and have a huge part of the Panthers winning their maiden grand final. A legend of the club, he represented NSW and Australia ten times each.
3. Ryan Girdler
Gilder began his Panthers’ career in 1993 and went on to become the highest points-scorer for the club with 1572, consisting of 101 tries and 581 goals. He played in the 2003 grand final and he represented NSW eight times, also playing ten Tests for Australia.
2. Craig Gower
Gower is equal second with Royce Simmons, playing 238 games for the club. He is one of only two players to lead the club to premiership glory (2003) and is the only man on this list to captain Australia while at the Panthers. He represented NSW six times and made 18 appearances for Australia.
1. Greg Alexander
This pick was a great matter of debate between Alexander, Gower and even Brad Filter (Freddie will be on the Roosters list). But after review, there is little doubt ‘Brandy’ is number one.
He was the first player to lead the club to premiership glory and scoring 101 tries, as well as kicking 388 goals for the club is a great feat in any language. A true legend of the club and one of its greats. He represented NSW and Australia six times each.
Honour mentions to Martin Lang, John Cartwright, Tim Sheens, Bob Landers and Grahame Moran.
Do you agree with my list? Who is your favourite Panthers player?