Injured Panthers star Jarome Luai admitted there was no worse feeling than watching the frantic closing stages of Sunday’s grand final from the sideline but he believes there’s even more success to come from the Panthers.
With the traditional lei around his neck and now a third premiership ring on his fingers, Luai said he believes his side is the greatest team of the NRL era but sent a scary warning shot to the rest of the competition that this is only the beginning.
“The resume speaks for itself, no other team has done this. Hate us, love us you can’t argue with that. We're just getting started,” Luai said following his side’s 26-24 win over the Broncos.
“Winners win and that’s what we are and we’ve got a lot of them in our team.
"Obviously we’ll continue to strive for that but that’s a while away and it’s time to party.”
Luai: The belief was always there
After reaggravating a shoulder injury in the 51st minute of Sunday’s grand final, the star five-eighth was unsure about the extent of the injury amid Penrith's grand final celebrations.
Departing Panther Jack Cogger replaced Luai in the final 29 to help the Panthers fight back from a 16-point deficit before Nathan Cleary iced the match winning moment in the 77th minute to kick off celebrations in the Penrith dressing sheds.
Nathan Cleary Try
“Towards the end of the first half just felt it [shoulder] and it went numb a bit," he said.
“I came inside at half time, needles, pain killers so I could give what I could give but the boys had to finish it off.
“It’s probably the worse feeling but knowing what team you have and the players you play with every week, never count them out.
“We’ve showed it many times when we’ve been down, we’ve always crawled back so me and Peach [Tyrone Peachey] definitely had belief on the bench, that was the chat between us, but I don’t think anyone else did.
“I feel a lot better now than if we lost tonight. A few beers will take away the pain."
However, Luai’s future at Penrith is yet to be locked in with the three-time premiership winning No. 6 off contract at the end of 2024 and set to hit the open market on November 1.
Admitting he has decision to make while he hits the rehab room in the off season, the St Marys junior said he has to consider the potential of future success at the club and what’s best for his family.
“There was two main factors, success or family so they’re the two main reasons with this decision coming up but for now it’s time to party.”
Match: Panthers v Broncos
Grand Final -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney