South Sydney Rabbitohs want Penrith Panthers winger Josh Mansour


Mansour represented Souths in the lower grades, earning NYC winger of the year selection after impressing during the 2010 season. After graduating to feeder team North Sydney, he was signed by the Panthers.

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Until recently, it has been a happy relationship at the foot of the mountains. The 30-year-old has made all of his 158 NRL appearances for Penrith, where he has become a senior player and represented NSW and Australia. Club powerbrokers, however, tapped him on shoulder after the grand final loss to Melbourne to inform him he would likely be making way to allow Ivan Cleary to include young outside backs like Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o, Brent Naden, Charlie Staines and Matt Burton in his side.

The Panthers are prepared to pay some of Mansour’s freight, which could result in the Rabbitohs picking up the Lebanon international at a bargain price.

Allan impressed at fullback at the end of last season when stepping into the role for the injured Latrell Mitchell. Those performances could be enough to earn the No.1 jersey at the Bulldogs or another club.

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Penrith Panthers star Brent Naden given one-month ban for positive cocaine test, NRL investigating bubble breach


Naden was sanctioned under new the World Anti-Doping Code’s new rules for 2021, which permit a one-month suspension for athletes who can prove the drug was taken recreationally. The athlete also must commit to undertaking a rehab program to qualify for the reduced suspension.

Naden did not contest the positive sample but told Sports Integrity Australia he took the drug the day ahead of the grand final, which aligned with the low levels found in his sample.

Panthers star Brent Naden returned a positive test for cocaine after the 2020 grand final.Credit:NRL Photos

Sports Integrity Australia came to the conclusion Naden would have not taken the drugs so far in advance if he had taken them to improve his performance in the grand final.

His ban was backdated to the day his provisional suspension was handed down on December 1, leaving Naden free to return to training and competition from January 1.

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Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher said Naden was expected to return to pre-season training next week.

The Panthers do not expect any heavy sanctions to come from the potential bubble breach and are happy for him to return to training while that investigation is ongoing.

“Our club acknowledges the penalty handed to Brent Naden by the NRL in relation to his use of a recreational drug,” he said. “Brent has come to understand the significant impact of his actions on his family, our club and the game of rugby league.

“He similarly understands how fortunate he is to have the opportunity to return to the NRL in 2021.”

The Panthers are also unhappy at suggestions in the media they were aware of Naden’s drug use before choosing to play him on grand final day, with the club considering its legal options.

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NRL 2020: Brent Naden suspension, Penrith Panthers, cocaine, grand final


The NRL has confirmed a one-month suspension for Panthers centre Brent Naden, backdated to the date of his provisional suspension.

Naden was provisionally suspended on December 1 after testing positive to cocaine on the night of the grand final loss to Melbourne.

It was established that Naden’s ingestion of cocaine was out-of-competition and not for performance-enhancing purposes.

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Round 1

Panthers release Tetevano

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Penrith Panthers star Brent Naden to make return to training next week after sanction for positive cocaine test


Sport Integrity Australia ruled the one-month period be backdated to the date of his provisional suspension meaning he will be able to return to training and competition on January 1.

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Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher said Naden is expected to return to pre-season training next week.

“Our club acknowledges the penalty handed to Brent Naden by the NRL in relation to his use of a recreational drug,” he said. “Brent has come to understand the significant impact of his actions on his family, our club and the game of rugby league.

“He similarly understands how fortunate he is to have the opportunity to return to the NRL in 2021.”

Fletcher said Naden was “continuing to work” through his personal issues.

“We anticipate he will return to Panthers pre-season training following the completion of his suspension,” Fletcher said.

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Penrith Panthers, Zane Tetevano, contract, Leeds Super League


The Penrith Panthers have released forward Zane Tetevano from the final year of his contract to join the Super League.

Tetevano is expected to take up a three-year deal with Leeds Rhinos in the English competition in the coming days.

“Zane had an extraordinary impact on our young squad following his arrival at the club last season,” Panthers general manager Matt Cameron said.

“He consistently elevated our training sessions with his professionalism and played an important role in the team’s success in 2020.

“We’ve granted Zane’s request for a release out of respect to him and his family, in consideration of the valuable opportunity they’ve been presented by Leeds Rhinos.

“We wish to thank Leeds Rhinos and Zane’s manager Wayde Rushton for their co-operation through this process.

“We also extend our thanks to Zane for his service to Panthers and wish him the best of luck in the Super League.”

Tetevano played 19 NRL matches for Penrith this year, averaging over 100 running metres per game.

Having previously represented the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights, the 30-year-old also played three Test matches for New Zealand in 2019.

“While it’s difficult to leave Panthers, I’m extremely grateful to the club for allowing my family and I to take up this opportunity,” Tetevano said.

“My time at Penrith was one of the most enjoyable years of my career.

“I want to thank everyone involved with the club for their support and wish them all the best for the future.”



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NRL 2021: Zane Tetevano leaves Penrith Panthers to take up contract with Leeds Rhinos in the Super League


Zane Tetevano has left the Penrith Panthers a year early to take up a three-year deal with Super League powerhouse Leeds.

The 30-year-old joined the Panthers last season, playing an integral role in their minor premiership victory and their run to the grand final.

A Kiwi international, Tetevano had previously been at the Roosters and Newcastle.

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Round 1



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NRL 2020 Transfers: Breakthrough players, Ashley Taylor, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Trent Barrett, Penrith Panthers


Five different players from four different teams with one thing in common – all the pieces are in place for them to thrive in 2021.

For some, it is the absence of a big name that has left a void they will be tasked with filling.

In the case of others, key signings or personnel changes shape as the final ingredient needed to bring out the best versions of themselves.

Round 1

Here are foxsports.com.au’s five NRL players who can go to the next level in the new year.



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NRL 2021: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Trent Barrett, Penrith Panthers, Stephen Crichton, Nathan Cleary, Flanagan


New Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett has drawn comparisons between his Canterbury outfit and the Penrith side that reached 2020’s NRL grand final, while refusing to rule out fresh bids for some of the Panthers’ off-contract stars.

Barrett returned to head coaching straight after being part of the Panthers coaching staff that saw them clinch the minor premiership before losing the grand final to Melbourne.

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Seen by many as the catalyst for Penrith’s turnaround in 2020, the ex-Manly coach is charged with the same task at Canterbury.

Round 1

And Barrett says he can see familiar elements to the Panthers as he seeks to end the Dogs’ finals drought.



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James Tamou feels for former Penrith Panthers teammate Brent Naden


“My first thoughts, when I found out, was to make sure he was OK.

“Bubble life, I’ve got four young kids at home and I’m always busy. But the young guys who are single and go home to four walls and twiddle their thumbs, mentally it would have been tough. I’m not [condoning drug use], but there were a lot of things going on for ‘Nado’.”

Penrith Panthers centre Brent Naden tested positive to cocaine on grand final night.Credit:NRL Photos

Tamou inked a two-year deal with the Tigers in September, and knew the Panthers would struggle to retain all their talent.

He said Crichton, who is holding out for a better three-year deal, was worth every penny. He also hoped ”freak” Laurie – and Josh Mansour – would be released and given the chance to join him at the Tigers a year early.

“Because of the talent they have out there – I said this nearly the whole time I was out there about how the talent is unbelievable – I’m not surprised what is happening now,” Tamou said.

“It’s a shame because Penrith are such a good club but they can’t keep them all.

It’s about trying to keep the young ones together, which is going to be the problem for Penrith.

James Tamou

“A guy like Stephen Crichton is still so young but he’s definitely worth the money. I know ‘Critta’, he loves the boys and he loves Penrith. It’s not his fault because he deserves the money he can get. It’s about trying to keep the young ones together, which is going to be the problem for Penrith.”

Tamou spearheads a Tigers forward pack that includes Zane Musgrove, Shawn Blore, Stefano Utoikamanu, Alex Twal and Joe Ofahengaue. He soon discovered how powerful some of the younger players were during a Tuesday wrestling session.

A natural leader who skippered Penrith, Tamou has had no discussions about being appointed Tigers captain but was happy to fill the role if coach Michael Maguire wanted him to.

Tamou said the young Tigers reminded him a lot of the Panthers side from a couple of years ago. The two encounters between the clubs last season were ”scary” because you never knew what Maguire’s men would produce.

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“If they were on, you knew you were up for a big game,” he said.

“They’re young, they’re eager for success, and you can tell that from being there just a couple of days.

“I’m excited. I knew a few of the boys already, but I wanted to get to know the other boys’ names, the structures, and by getting in early it will allow me to hit the ground running in the new year rather than doing the intros. I wanted to do right by the Tigers.”

Tamou will remain in the Penrith area and commute each day along the M4 Motorway.

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Penrith Panthers exodus, Zane Tetevano, Stephen Crichton, contracts


Zane Tetevano is eyeing off a big payday in England as Leeds Rhinos reportedly consider offering the Penrith prop a $1.5 million deal.

The Daily Telegraph reports the UK Super League club is preparing to offer the 30-year-old $500,000 a season over three years to bolster its forward stocks, which would represent a significant pay rise for the NRL journeyman, who debuted for Newcastle in 2011.

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Tetevano is contracted to the Panthers until the end of next year but there is speculation he may be allowed to leave early, which would free up salary cap space to keep other stars.

Tetevano played 19 games in 2020 — most of them off the bench, including the grand final loss to Melbourne — and was a solid contributor to the Panthers’ forward pack.

Despite the salary cap relief his departure would provide, it would also intensify the problems Penrith faces in keeping its roster together after last season’s heroics. Up-and-coming playmaker Matt Burton has inked a deal with the Bulldogs for 2022, young fullback Daine Laurie is joining the Tigers that same year while prop James Tamou is linking up with Wests next season.

Former NSW winger Josh Mansour has been told he’s no longer wanted and the Panthers will need to cough up to keep gun centre Stephen Crichton, whose asking price rose considerably after a breakout 2020.

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The 20-year-old is reportedly seeking a new three-year deal worth upwards of $2.2 million — well in excess of the $500,000-a-season contract he was after earlier in the year before changing management.

Crichton told the Sydney Morning Herald in November he wasn’t sure if he would still be at Penrith when his deal expires at the end of 2021.

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said earlier this month efforts to keep Penrith’s contracted stars together in the wake of the team’s run to the grand final wouldn’t harm its preparation for next season.

“That’s the main message, that they’re all here next year and it’s our job now that the ones who are nearing or coming off contract fit in the puzzle moving forward,” Fletcher told NRL.com.

“You’d like to think they’ll all be raring to go to play together again next year and see where their futures go after that.

“That’s the beauty of it, we’ve got a year to get ourselves right. We’ve got the nucleus of the side there now with the older guys who are 24-25.”



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