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Cole, McLean upgraded to NRL squad

Penrith Panthers is delighted to announce contract upgrades for talented young players Jack Cole and Jesse McLean.

Cole and McLean have both re-signed with the club until the end of the 2026 season and have been promoted to the NRL squad, effective immediately.

Cole had a breakout 2022 season, in which he played for the premiership-winning Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup teams before making his NRL debut in Round 25 against North Queensland.

The 19-year-old playmaker was named the NSWRL Jersey Flegg Player of the Year and represented New South Wales in the under-19s clash.

A Blacktown Bears and Doonside Roos junior, McLean also had a stellar 2022 campaign, which saw him named in the Australian Schoolboys side.

The 19-year-old outside back scored a double in the SG Ball Grand Final, including the match-winning try, and claimed the Panthers SG Ball Emerging Talent Award.

McLean will feature in the Panthers’ Pre-season Challenge match against Parramatta at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.

Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron was thrilled to secure the services of the talented duo for the next four seasons.

“On behalf of all at Panthers, I’d like to congratulate Jack and Jesse on being promoted to the club’s NRL squad,” Cameron said.

“Jack and Jesse epitomise what we stand for as a development club and our built from within mantra.

“The club prides itself on the strong development system, and the continuous production line of rugby league talent ensures Panthers will flourish for years to come.

“Not only did Panthers see the importance of retaining the talented duo, but Jack and Jesse also saw the value of remaining with the club to progress their rugby league careers.”

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.