Having spent the best part of last season denying there was any truth to the rumours he had fallen out with captain Matt Moylan, Penrith coach Anthony Griffin has finally admitted there was ‘a conflict’ that ultimately led to the local junior’s departure.
Moylan finished a tumultuous 2017 campaign on leave to deal with ‘personal issues’ as his team-mates overcame a slow start to make it to the second week of the NRL finals.
After months of bizarre denials that there was any drama between coach and superstar, Moylan signed a four-year deal with Cronulla.
Speaking at Panthers training on Thursday, Griffin expressed regret over the falling out and admitted he has learned lessons from the Moylan saga.
“It’s obviously not what we wanted and I’m sure it’s not what Matt wanted as well,” Griffin said.
“But as a club we’ve dealt with that, we wish him all the best and the club was very good to him over the first part of his career.
“He captained the club, he played rep football from here and you never want to have a conflict like that but it happened.
“We all learned something out of it, I’m sure Matt learned something out of it as well and we wish him the best at Cronulla.”
Meanwhile, Griffin concedes the Mountain Men can’t afford another sluggish start in 2018.
The Panthers entered 2017 as premiership favourites with the bookies but managed just two wins from their first nine games.
They rallied late to finish seventh on the ladder and progressed to the second week of the finals before bowing out with a 13-6 semi-final loss to Brisbane.
“We left our (finals) run late and thankfully we were able to do it (make the eight) which, from a strength of a group point of view and as a club, that’s something we want to keep building on is the way we can build into a season,” Griffin said.
“But obviously we’ve got to address our start to the year and start with a few more wins.”