Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has likely played his last game for Penrith after he was granted permission to negotiate with rival clubs.
Watene-Zelezniak wants out of the Panthers after he was dropped from the NRL side to face Parramatta on Thursday. The Eels are seeking a centre and are prepared to immediately accommodate the Kiwis captain if he can gain a release. Wests Tigers could be another option due to his strong connection with coach Michael Maguire, who made him captain of the New Zealand national side.
The man dubbed ‘DWZ’ hasn’t been selected for Penrith’s reserve grade clash with Wentworthville Magpies, meaning he is unlikely to wear the club’s colours again.
“Earlier this week, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s management sought permission from Panthers to speak with other NRL clubs regarding Dallin’s immediate and future playing career,” the Panthers said in a statement. “This permission was granted following discussions by the club’s retention and recruitment committee.
“Out of respect for all parties, the club will be making no further comment at this time.”
Watene-Zelezniak is on a lucrative contract that expires next year and the Panthers may be forced to pay part of his freight in order to get him off their books.
Ivan Cleary refused to discuss Watene-Zelezniak’s axing, or the return of Regan Campbell-Gillard and Josh Mansour to his first-grade team during his pre-game press conference.
"I don’t want to discuss selection,” Cleary said.
“I don’t think it’s fair on anyone. It’s an internal thing again, speaking in school.
"Clearly we’re looking for change. A lot of people here, including myself aren’t performing well enough. Sometimes you’re going to make some changes.