Panthers announces 2019 Leadership Group

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has confirmed a six-man leadership group will guide the Panthers NRL squad in 2019.

The leadership group consists of James Maloney, James Tamou, Isaah Yeo, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Josh Mansour and Nathan Cleary.

“We’ve taken our time to decide on this leadership model and this specific group of players to ensure we deliver what is best for the Panthers this season,” Ivan Cleary said.

“This model provides our team with strong leadership through cooperation, which is absolutely vital to success in a team environment.

“The leadership group is intentionally balanced with a mix of positions, age, experience and personal qualities, while also providing an opportunity for future captains of this club to emerge.”

Watene-Zelezniak is the current New Zealand Kiwis captain while Maloney and Yeo already boast captaincy experience in the NRL, with both having stepped up to lead the Panthers in 2018 following the mid-season retirement of Peter Wallace.

Ivan Cleary believes the shared leadership model will allow all Panthers players to further develop their leadership skills, which will ultimately benefit the club in the long term.

“The shared leadership model will also encourage leadership from players outside the named group,” he said.

“We are confident it will see every Panthers player contribute in their own way and help create real ownership of this team in 2019.”

The Panthers continue their pre-season preparations with a trial game against South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval on Saturday.