Peter Sterling questions Penrith Panthers’ roster management
By Ben Glover
30 minutes ago
Rugby league legend Peter Sterling says the window of opportunity for the Panthers to win a premiership has slammed shut in their face, pointing the finger at a questionable couple of years of roster management as the key to their downfall.
Speaking to James Bracey for Wide World of Sports’ Sterlo’s Wrap, the four-time premiership-winning halfback read out a list of players who had left the Panthers in the last couple of years and wondered why the club had taken themselves back into a rebuilding phase before having a proper crack at winning a title with a star-studded core.
Among the stars who are now playing at other clubs, Sterling identified Matt Moylan and Bryce Cartwright as players who could have led a charge to the promised land while puzzling over the recent departures of talented outside backs Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Waqa Blake.
"Three or four seasons ago I was their biggest fan and you could see that they were bringing together this squad that I felt were going to be playing grand finals or winning premierships in a short period of time.
" … the window of opportunity that just appeared to be on the horizon has disappeared and we’re now back into the rebuild phase and I don’t think Penrith will play finals this year.
“I don’t see them being a top four side, again, there’s so much talent in the squad and we just had some footage there of some good young players coming through, (Brent) Naden has been great since coming in, but they’re now in the infancy of their NRL careers and it’s going to take time to get up those 40, 60, 80, 100 games that you need, we’re now back kind of to where we started.”
The Panthers looked set to launch into a dominant period after then coach Anthony Griffin took them to the second week of finals in 2016, with their season finishing in a competitive loss to a Canberra side that had finished second on the ladder.