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Opinion

The forgotten players: Penrith Panthers

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Roar Guru
14th November, 2020
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This is the fifth article in the series that looks back at some of the players who had very brief stints at your club.

The Panthers joined the competition in 1967, and since then nearly 600 players have turned out for them in first grade, some more famous than others. Club legends like Craig Gower, Greg Alexander, Steve Carter, Royce Simmons and Luke Lewis all played over 200 games for the club, while others came and went before you noticed them.

Here’s a team made up of players who played only a handful of games for the club.

Do you remember any of them running out for the Panthers?

1. Mark Bell
Bell was a clever and speedy outside back who played 165 top-level games in his 11-year career. After stints with Canberra and Wests, he came to Penrith in 1994 but never really struck top form, playing only seven first-grade games. He then moved on to the Dragons for three years from 1995 before finishing his career in England.

2. Michael Oldfield
Michael Oldfield is a journeyman winger who has scored 60 tries in his 100 top-grade games across six clubs in both the NRL and ESL. Oldfield played just half a season with the Panthers in 2017 and was selected in only one first-grade game before making a midseason switch to Canberra. He signed on with the Eels for 2021.

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3. Doug Ricketson
Ricketson was the father of Roosters legend Luke Ricketson and began his career at Easts in 1960. He came to the Panthers for their inaugural season in 1967 and played three games before his career was ended by a knee injury.

4. Timana Tahu
Tahu had a long career in both league and union and was a dual international and a New South Wales Origin stalwart. Tahu was a prolific try-scorer and scored three tries in his brief seven-game stint with the Panthers in 2011 before suffering a season-ending injury. He later returned to the Knights.

5. Len Killeen
A South African, Killeen was a try-scoring winger and prolific goal kicker who scored nearly 1900 points in his 281 games at the top level. Killeen came from St Helens to Balmain in 1968 and later had eight games for Penrith in his final season in 1972.

6. Tony Brown
Brown was a top-flight back who had a long career with Newtown before joining Penrith in 1965 when they were still playing in the second division. He was captain of Penrith in the opening games of their debut first division season in 1967 but played just three games before injury ended his top-grade career. He played ten games for Australia and nine for New South Wales.

7. Justin Holbrook
The new coach of the resurgent Titans had a brief first-grade career in the NRL, notching up just 17 games in four seasons. Eight of those came at Penrith in 2001.

8. Kent Lambert
After a stellar career with the All Blacks, Lambert made the switch to league in 1978 but managed just one game in first grade before injury brought his career to a close.

9. Nick Geiger
Geiger played the bulk of his career in the Brisbane competition from where he gained selection for both Queensland and Australia. His only games in the Sydney competition came in 1979 when he had just five games for the Panthers.

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10. Darrien Doherty
Doherty played his one and only game for the Panthers off the bench in 1990 but then managed the rare feat of playing for another six NRL clubs before his career eventually ended in 2000.

11. Paul Quinn
Quinn was a Parramatta junior and an Australian Schoolboy representative who had very big raps on him when he entered grade football with Parramatta in 1991. However, a lack of first-grade opportunity with the Eels saw him join Penrith in 1993, where he was selected in first grade on just six occasions. He then headed to Souths in the following season where he had marginally more success over the next four seasons.

12. Graham Settree
Settree had four seasons with Parramatta before joining the Panthers for the 1989 season and was selected in first grade on two occasions. His last year in the top grade was with Newcastle in 1990.

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13. Sam Anderson
Anderson is a big, hard-running front-rower who has spent most of his career playing in either the Newcastle competition or in the Queensland Cup. His only NRL games came in the 2013 to 2015 seasons with Penrith, when he was selected on seven occasions.

14. Paul Taylor
A brilliant utility player and Parramatta legend, Taylor played 200 games at the top level in both Australia and England before joining Penrith in 1990, where he played just one first-grade game before injury ended his career.

15. Peter Shiels
Shiels was a giant forward who played over 160 games at the top level in both Australia and England. He got his start in first grade at Penrith in 1993 when he played five games for the club.

16. Daniel Penese
A back-rower or centre, Penese came through the Penrith system to play two first-grade games for the club in 2008. Despite trying his hand at a couple of other clubs, he wasn’t selected in first grade again.

17. Yileen Gordon
Gordon was a great ball runner and was equally at home either in the back row or in the centres. After stints with both Souths and Canterbury during the 2005 to 2010 seasons he finished his first-grade career with three games for Penrith in 2011.