Matt Moylan has been named Penrith Panthers captain for 2016.
In a major announcement at Pepper Stadium on Wednesday morning, Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said he was pleased to promote the homegrown talent.
“Matt’s a local junior, he’s been in the area his whole life, he’s now a central part of our team and I am very happy,” he told reporters.
Moylan grew up in Doonside and played his junior football for St Patrick’s Blacktown in the Penrith junior league.
He is also one of many top level players to have come through the production line from Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown.
Moylan made his first grade debut for the Panthers in 2013 and has played 50 NRL games to date.
Moylan said the announcement was something he was very proud of.
“I think it’s a massive achievement and I am really honoured to be named captain for this year,” the 24-year-old said.
“I was pretty surprised by it, I think with the senior players that we’ve got here … that have done the job before, it was a bit of a surprise.
“But I am ready for the challenge and I think it will help me going forward as a footy player.”
Moylan’s composure has impressed Griffin since his arrival at the club three months ago.
“I’ve taken my time with this decision, and he’s a very composed young man,” Griffin said.
“He’s already achieved a hell of a lot in his short career, bearing in mind he still hasn’t turned 25 yet.
“Probably his composure and his presence are the things that have impressed me the most.”
Griffin admitted Peter Wallace “might be” a bit hard done by over the decision, but said “Pete’s got a lot on his plate at the moment”.
“He’s coming back from two knee reconstructions and he’ll be a real good help to Matt, but the decision I have made is about what I saw right at this time,” he said.
Having a former local junior as captain of the first grade team was “a great thing for the Panthers,” Griffin said.
“Going forward as a club we want to promote as many local juniors as we can as NRL players,” he said.