A fearless Dylan Edwards has thrown himself head-first into training following a shoulder reconstruction as he prepares to fight off Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for Penrith’s No.1 jumper.
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Panthers bosses still deny any rift between Matt Moylan and Anthony Griffin, labelling the rep star’s permanent departure as a “small blip” they believe they can “work through”.
The club also remains confident of resolving any lingering differences between the pair – if any exist – despite the minor setback of both working separately and hating each other’s guts.
Rumours of Moylan’s unrest have bubbled at Penrith since August, when he stopped playing in favour of picking the wings off flies while fuming over Griffin.
Despite this, the Panthers have maintained a staunch position throughout that the captain and coach had no issues, except for an untenable working relationship.
The club has continually dismissed rumours of the local junior’s potential departure, citing his recent four-year extension and the fact that nobody ever breaks contracts in rugby league.
General manager Phil Gould even took the extraordinary step of publicly assuring fans Moylan would remain at the club, claiming the five-eighth promised he was happy under Griffin’s “unrelenting and inaudible grip of dread”.
Gould acknowledged minor incidents had occurred between the pair – such as Moylan nicknaming Griffin ‘Anthony Genghis’ and the coach blaming Moylan for everything – but wrote them off as just “tiffs”.
But despite Penrith’s best efforts, the club were again forced to address more whispers, which this time were traced back to a media manager’s press release approved by Moylan himself.
Speaking at the press conference to announce the rep star’s defection to the Sharks, club bosses reaffirmed his contract obligations.
While acknowledging Moylan’s new deal with Cronulla, officials dismissed gossip of his unrest as a “media beat-up”.
They further insisted that, if anything, Moylan’s new four-year deal is more like a sabbatical, similar to that employed by other state-of-the-art organisations such as the All Blacks and the corrective system.
Officials signed off with a bullishly deranged declaration about Moylan’s position at the club, clearly proving they now prefer plausible deniability over a cover-up following the whole Bryce Cartwright thing.
“Our position remains as always; Matt is a required member of this club,” a spokesperson said.
“Until we take our fingers out of ears, that won’t change.”