Penrith Panthers new-look squad takes shape for 2016 season

Panther pride: The Penrith Panthers players and coaching staff are all set for a big year in the NRL in 2016.

Panther pride: The Penrith Panthers players and coaching staff are all set for a big year in the NRL in 2016.

There’s a new coach, new captain and plenty of new faces at the foot of the mountains this year, as the Penrith Panthers look to put their injury-ravaged 2015 season behind them. 

Former Brisbane Broncos mentor Anthony Griffin takes the reins from Ivan Cleary as coach, while Matt Moylan steps into the captaincy role. 

With a heavy injury toll, the Panthers were forced to use a total of 32 players during the 2015 season. 

There’s been a lot of player movements since last season, so we can expect to see a different looking Panthers outfit in 2016. 

The signing of NSW and Australian representative, Trent Merrin from the St George-Illawarra Dragons should be a big positive for the club.

The Panthers have also signed Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles) and Suaia Matagi (Sydney Roosters) who are both Kiwi internationals, as well as French international, Ben Garcia. 

Garcia joins from French club Catalans Dragons and will attempt to make the tough transition from Super League to NRL player. 

There are a number of other signings who have not yet played first grade, but will add depth to the Panthers NSW Cup and Holden Cup squads. 

Both had great seasons in 2015, particularly the under-20s, who brought home a premiership. 

Last year saw seven players make their NRL debuts, and with the amount of young talent around this year, a lot more are likely to be blooded in 2016. 

It’s a squad bursting with potential, and with a new coach on board, all of the players will be looking to make a statement, and establish the Panthers as a genuine premiership contender. 

2016 NRL Squad: Waqa Blake, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Bryce Cartwright, Ben Garcia, Peta Hiku, George Jennings, Robert Jennings, Sione Katoa, Jeremy Latimore, Leilani Latu, Josh Mansour, Te Maire Martin, Suaia Matagi, Sam McKendry, Trent Merrin, Matt Moylan, Tyrone Peachey, James Segeyaro, Chris Smith, Will Smith, Jamie Soward, Elijah Taylor, Peter Wallace, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Isaah Yeo. 

The story Squad takes shape for 2016 first appeared on Penrith City Gazette.

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