Panthers make it 7 from 7!

After yet another fiery encounter against the Green Machine from the nation’s capital, the Panthers have now started the 2022 season with 7 wins from 7 games! 

This is a serious rugby league team. They have also now won their past 21 games in a row at Penny Park (Bluebet Stadium). Ironically the last team to beat them on their home deck were the team they defeated last Sunday, the Canberra Raiders, back in 2019.

I think it can now be announced that the Panthers and Raiders are the latest two teams in the competition to be officially feuding.

And isn’t it great to watch! 

Way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s the Panthers and Raiders played out some epic encounters. None more so than the back to back grand finals of 90 and 91 that saw each club come away with one win apiece. 

They had players like Laurie Daley, Mal Meninga, Glen Lazarus, Steve Walters, Bradley Clyde, Gary Belcher, and a cheeky little half back who just happens to be the Raiders current coach in Ricky Stuart. 

Ricky Stuart was one of the greatest competitors I came across in my playing days and would give as much as he got. He would be more than disappointed that his footy team currently sit second last on the ladder with only 2 wins from 7 games.

But this current feud between the two clubs has basically come out of the blue. If you cast your mind back to last year, almost 12 months to the day (Friday April 9) on the same night the members of the 1991 grand final team gathered and did a lap of honour celebrating 30 years since the club’s inaugural grand final victory, was the same night tensions boiled over onto the sidelines when Stephen Crichton and Joseph Tapine clashed after a Penrith try. 

The fuse was lit. 

I find it more than coincidental that the Raiders coach and grand final halfback in their loss to us all those years earlier didn’t call for slightly more “mayo on the sandwich” to try and rain on our parade on such a special night? Bloody oath he would have, and so he bloody well should have. 

After all, rugby league is all about the ‘theatre’ and without protagonists we don’t have a game.

Which leads us back to last Sunday’s game. You don’t think Ricky would have reminded his troops of exactly what went down at the foot of the mountains nearly 12 months ago? And when the Panther faithful started performing the Raiders famous “Viking Clap” right back at them, how much their blood would have boiled? 

“A prolonged and bitter quarrel or dispute” is the definition of a feud, and last Sunday it went next level as the Panthers came away with a 36-6 thumping of their opposition. But like all feuds, there is always some kind of retribution. Mark down in your diary Saturday the 6th of August. Why? Because it is when Penrith next play Canberra, in Canberra, and although the weather will be freezing, the temperature in both change rooms pre game will be at boiling point!

See you at the game….

MG (random Westie) OAM