You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Panthers confirms 2023 coaching structure

Penrith Panthers has today confirmed the appointments of Peter Wallace and Ben Gardiner as assistant coaches to head coach Ivan Cleary for the 2023 NRL season.

After leading the Panthers NSW Cup team to premiership success and the State Championship, Wallace has been named as an NRL assistant coach.

The Panthers Life Member played 240 NRL matches – including 101 for Panthers – as well as four State of Origin matches for New South Wales.

Since retiring in 2018, Wallace has remained an integral part of the club as a member of the coaching staff, and has made an impactful contribution both on and off the field. 

Gardiner joins the club with a wealth of experience, having worked in a number of key coaching position, including assistant coach for the New Zealand Kiwis.

Gardiner spent the past two seasons at Wests Tigers – as an NRL assistant in 2022 and head coach of the NSW Cup side Western Suburbs in 2021 – leading the Magpies to second on the ladder before the competition was suspended due to COVID.

Gardiner previously held coaching positions with South Sydney, Cronulla, North Sydney, City Origin and NSW under-20s.

“Peter and Ben are both impressive coaches who will add a lot to our coaching staff and playing group through their relationships, knowledge and work ethic,” Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron said.

“Peter has been a valuable member of the Panthers for many years now and I’m excited to see him progress to the next stage of his coaching career.

“Ben joins the club with a lot of coaching experience, and I look forward to welcoming him to the club ahead of the 2023 pre-season.”

Meanwhile, Ben Harden has been elevated to head coach of the NSW Cup team.

Harden spent 2022 as part of the NRL coaching staff, having previously worked as the Head of Pathways at Panthers, as well as holding a number of lower grades coaching roles.

After leading his side to premiership success in 2022, Jono Rolfe will continue in his role as Jersey Flegg coach next season, as well as taking on a full-time position in Pathways.

“Not only is Ben an impressive coach but he is also a quality young man, who will do a great job as the Panthers NSW Cup coach,” Cameron said.

“Jono has done a wonderful job as the Jersey Flegg coach and I’m pleased to see him remain in the position, while taking on more responsibility at Panthers.”


NRL Head Coach – Ivan Cleary
NRL Assistant Coach – Peter Wallace
NRL Assistant Coach – Ben Gardiner
NSW Cup Coach – Ben Harden
Jersey Flegg Coach – Jono Rolfe

Click here to see Junior Representative coaches for 2023.

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.