For those of you that don’t know already, I am a very jaded, very cynical, damaged Penrith Panthers supporter. Now that is out of the way, lets get on to the business at hand.
Russell Packer played under Ivan Cleary at the New Zealand Warriors. Now Cleary finds himself coaching the Penrith Panthers, and while the Telegraph suggest Cleary would welcome Packer to the club, it seems Phil Gould is a little more cautious.
I rated Russell Packer when he played for the Warriors. Yes, there was that infamous incident where Packer was caught urinating all over himself in the middle of an NRL field and on camera, but aside from that, Packer was the type of player that could make an impact in the game.
As a Panthers supporter though, I don’t like the idea of bringing any sort of trouble or controversy to the club. When the side runs out on the field I want to be able to support them unreservedly. I don’t want to see player in the side who I wouldn’t want kids to be able to look up to.
Does that mean you lose a talent in Packer and are a lesser team for it? Maybe. I’m willing to accept that though if it means the Panthers look to avoid these type of players that bring baggage to a club.
There is a train of thought in Rugby League that if you do a crime, you do the time, and then everything goes back to normal. The problem is, Rugby League doesn’t exist in a vacuum. People remember these sort of things. They remember what players have done in the past and they never let go of it.
Its human nature. I’m not going to say its wrong for people to remember a persons past mistakes. Sometimes that sort of thing helps you avoid problems in the future.
All of a sudden here we are talking about the Panthers and not talking about the football. We are talking about off field crap that I just don’t want my team to have to deal with.
I think any time a club needs to almost apologise as it is announcing it has signed a player, that is probably a red flag right there.