Penrith playmaker Matt Burton will follow Trent Barrett to Canterbury, but not until 2022 as the new coach continues his Bulldogs overhaul.
In the prophetic words of the Finn brothers – history never repeats, I tell myself before I go to sleep.
Understood as a vain plea, these are sage words indeed. But to what history do they refer? Well, it’s the 2020 NRL grand final of course.
Shimmer-fade back to the spring of 2003. It was a much simpler time – the US was fighting a largely unilateral war in the Middle East, a respiratory virus was ripping through the populous and pro-democracy protesters were disappearing all throughout Hong Kong.
But more importantly, the NRL premiership was headed out west.
Having missed the finals a year before, a young Panthers team had finally jumped out of a rut and into their groove. They were a true scone for the ages. The raisins of youth had been fortified with a stoic and bready determination. Sound familiar?
Both editions managed to secure the minor premiership in a canter. But, in a weird parallel, somehow the league’s most exciting teams were on the nose with the punters. The Penny of 2003 were lead around by their halfback, Craig Gower, a man that was literally robbed of the Dally M. This is getting eerie, huh?
Now dig this. Both teams played their final against the second-placed team – a more experienced and battled hardened fighter. The Roosters were trying to send Freddy Fittler out on a high, so bank on Cam Smith going around for another fruitless year in 2021.
And finally, in what can’t possibly be a coincidence, the Panthers have doubled-down on the league’s only father-son combination. In the former it was the Langs, in the latter the Clearys. QED.
What more evidence do you need? We’ve seen it all before. The Panthers are special. But, as a Storm apologist, I’m sure history never repeats.
I’ll tell myself before I go to sleep. Well, actually, I tell myself quite a few things before I go to sleep. But that’s between me and my therapist. Panthers by 12.