Under Matthew Elliotts coaching the Penrith Panthers have yet to have a winning season in his three years on control of the club, Despite this the Penrith Panthers management decided to give him a three year contract extension.
Now, during the 2009-10 off season the Penrith Panthers have been spending a lot of money.
Penrith have gone out and bought former Wests Tigers forward Daine Laurie, Parramatta Grand Final hooker Kevin Kingston, Canberra players Nigel Plum and Adrian Purtell and now North Queensland five-eight Travis Burns.
No doubt there is an upside to some of these players.
Laurie, if he can get his head screwed on, could be a very good attacking weapon in what is already a massive forward pack. Kingston gives the Panthers a solid hooker coming off a good season, Plum and Purtell will add a bit of extra depth, but don’t really add huge amounts to the club.
My problem is with adding Travis Burns, who I’m a fan of by the way.
Burns has shown he can be a pretty handy attacking player, he did well when he played at Manly, but since moving to North Queensland he has been pretty dissapointing. I would put some of that down to the fact that he probably didn’t fit into the Cowboys style of play.
Jonathan Thurston is a very dominant halfback, Matthew Bowen plays a lot as a five-eight anyway, and Burn was just an extra cog they maybe didn’t need. North Queensland are better off having a more defensive minded five-eigth rather than a player like Burns.
Penrith have youngster Wade Graham at five-eight and he has already shown he can be a bit precious in the past (If he is playing at Melbourne by the start of next season I would not be surprised at all) so brining in Burns is a bit of a risk.
My problem with all of these moves is this…
Penrith have the biggest junior Rugby League system to get players from. Over the last couple of seasons though they clubs has been buying a few players that really leave you scratching your head.
With so many good youngsters in the junior ranks, Penrith should never have to buy in a winger for ANY reason. On top of this, a club like Penrith should only be buying players who are above and beyond your average first grade player. Penrth have a heap of youngsters who could be average first grade players (Some would say they have a lot of average first grade players now!) so why do they feel the need to go out and buy players like this from other clubs?
I have a feeling this is all a roll of the dice by the coach and the management, who can not have another losing season without massive pressure being applied to both.
The problem is, when you look at these buys, and as I’ve said, they are some handy players, does this group bring enough into the side to see them jump much higher up the ladder than they are right now?
Time will tell, but I’m not sure this is the direction I want the club going in. Yeah a few changes needed to be made, but now we are locked up solid salary cap wise with a club that hasn’t made the finals in years, a coach with a losing record that has three years to run on his current contract and a management that has made some terrible decisions in recent years.
Lets see how this all works out…
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