Penrith Panthers have let go of their coach Anthony Griffin. Photo: AAP
Penrith Panthers have let go of their coach Anthony Griffin. Photo: AAP

Panthers’ bombshell decision

The Penrith Panthers have given Anthony Griffin his marching orders just four weeks out from the NRL Finals.

NRL.com reported Griffin was told he would not be required at the foot of the mountain past the end of the this season despite being contracted until the end of 2020.

Assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo will take the reigns of the team as the caretaker coach for the remainder of the season. Peter Wallace will fill the assistant role alongside Ciraldo.

The news captured plenty of surprise considering the timing of the decision with the fifth-placed Panthers a month away from finals football and only fractionally outside of the top-four.

Plenty of talk over the past few weeks has encapsulated the club with unrest at Penrith with various coaches including Trent Barrett and John Cartwright linked to the job.

Last week, Panthers general manager Phil Gould lashed out at the speculation surrounding the Panthers coaching job.

Gould delivered the news to Griffin on Monday and revealed the coach had lost support from his playing group along with other members of his coaching staff.

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher released a statement following the incredible announcement which sent shockwaves around the league.

"There has been much speculation and rumours about the club and head coach Anthony Griffin over the last few weeks," Fletcher said.

"After discussions with Anthony Griffin it is time to end that speculation. By mutual agreement, the club and Anthony have agreed to part ways, effective immediately.

"Anthony departs the club after much success, having taken the Panthers to the finals in the last two years and leaves the club on track for another finals appearance in 2018.

"We would like to thank Anthony for his service to Panthers and wish him well for the future."

MUNSTER'S TINDER ADMISSION

Cameron Munster had a TMI moment on the Sunday Night with Matty Johns couch.
Cameron Munster had a TMI moment on the Sunday Night with Matty Johns couch.

Cameron Munster may have let fans in on a bit too much information when he joined the Sunday Night with Matty Johns team last night.

Talking about a trial match a few years ago in Griffth, Munster was open about his first wake up call in the NRL.

"I was up late until one o'clock in the morning, you all would have heard about it, Tinder," he said.

"The next morning I was talking to some of the boys and Bellyache (coach Craig Bellamy) was behind me and listening to it all.

"I played terrible and he questioned me whether I wanted to be there or otherwise go back to Rockhampton and dig holes."

It was an infamous moment for the young player as Bellamy kept the players out on the field to tear strips off the youngster in front of his teammates - and the crowd.

"He just said 'you're a nobody, you've done nothing, I don't know why you're carrying on. If you want to keep doing what you're doing you'll be out of this club very quickly' and it gave me a good reality check."

After Friday night's 30-20 loss to Souths, Munster said it was a disappointing loss.

"We obviously weren't playing our best in the first half, a couple dropped balls and couldn't hold onto the pill and playing against the good quality sides, you can't do that in rugby league and we ended up getting pumped," he said.

In good news for Melbourne fans, Cameron Smith is expected to be fit to play in Sunday's match against the Sharks.

 

BOYD BACK TO THE BACK

Broncos captain Darius Boyd may make the shift back to fullback for Thursday’s match against the Cowboys.
Broncos captain Darius Boyd may make the shift back to fullback for Thursday’s match against the Cowboys.

The Brisbane Broncos look set for a shake up with Darius Boyd to return to fullback ahead of the side's away game against the North Queensland Cowboys on Thursday night.

Winger Jordan Kahu appears likely to give way for a teenage debutant with Gehamat Shibasaki training in the centres on Monday.

The reshuffle would allow Boyd to revert to fullback and Jamayne Isaako to the wing as the Broncos chase a win to keep them in the hunt for a top-four finish.

The Broncos will be without Josh McGuire who will take an early guilty plea and miss a game after being charged for pulling the hair of Canterbury's Adam Elliott in Thursday's loss.

Kahu was benched midway through that clash and trained with the reserves at Red Hill on Monday.

Isaako is viewed as the club's long-term fullback but said he wasn't taking a return to the wing as an insult.

"With Darbs (Boyd) having a lot more experience he could be chucking him back at fullback this week and it's good for the team," he said.

"It's been good to get back there and get a good feel for playing fullback at the top level and learning off Darbs.

"This allows me to go back to the wing and watch him do his thing in big games like this." The Broncos' disappointing loss to the Bulldogs last Thursday followed impressive back-to-back wins over Penrith and Cronulla.

Brisbane are yet to win four consecutive games this season and sit seventh with four games to play.

Veteran Sam Thaiday said there was "no magic wand" to address their up-and-down form but Isaako conceded the young Broncos side had been guilty of panicking when things turned sour this season.

"When we go out there and things don't go our way a lot of players panic and, being so young, the boys look towards our older playing group to step up," he said.

"That's where as a team we need to buy in and work together."

- with Murray Wenzel, AAP



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