When Penrith Panthers fans were sold the dream of signing Johnathan Thurston things were looking pretty good! I wasn’t sold on signing Thurston, I think he was demanding too much money and is too old to be investing that much salary cap space into, but there is no doubt he would have got the job done on the field.
When we missed out on Thurston it was OK, we still had a heap of salary cap space to use and there were still some great players out there just waiting to run out in a Penrith Panthers jersey.
Then we sign Jamie Soward on a four year contract starting in 2014…
I didn’t mind the signing at the time. I felt like Soward’s kicking game would be a handy addition to the Panthers side. Especially if we could partner him with another stay half that had a bunch of tattoo’s and who loved the occasional beer or 50. If Jamie Soward was going to end up being our second play maker, he would end up being a handy signing.
Of course, the Panthers didn’t end up signing another stay play maker, and as we look towards the 2014 season it looks as though Jamie Soward will be out big name signing in the halves.
Soward’s form to start the season wasn’t great. In fact, over the last couple of seasons Soward hasn’t played out of his skin. I tend to think he hasn’t been helped by the way the Dragons play football and the fact that Soward is usually playing alongside the memory of the players Nathan Fien used to be. I felt as though Soward would shine once again in the right side and in a lineup where he wasn’t the only attacking option.
Over the last few weeks my rose tinted glasses have gone missing, and I’m starting to become horrifed at the thought that in four years from now this version of Jamie Soward might STILL be on the Penrith Panthers books!
At times Soward looks disinterested. He looks like he is going through the motions and just doing enough to justify his place in the Dragons lineup. I can’t see how he can be playing like this and why it would somehow magically change when he pulls on a Panthers jerself next season. Even his best assett, his kicking game, its just average now! The Jamie Soward we have seen over the last few weeks isn’t a player any club would want in their side, no matter how hard Phil Gould fights for him during Channel 9 broadcasts.
You have to keep in mind, as I write this article, Jamie Soward is THE Panthers big signing for 2014…
Maybe a change of scenery is what Soward needs. Maybe a new start at a new club will see him find his form again. Right now though, it doesn’t look good. I’m a worried Penrith Panthers fan that hopes we haven’t signed a dud on a long term deal.
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