A wise man once said how an NRL team a few years ago was over the cap. That wise man isn�t former South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO George Piggins but in fact the writer of this article, me, MrCharisma! About the same time Piggins also said something very similar but unlike me, nobody cared.
George and I were having our weekly catch up over coffee the other day across from Redfern station (Georgie is a bit of a cheapskate). While he was annoyed at the NRL and David Gallop, we got talking about this �team� who was over the cap. George is a bit of a flirt and likes to play hard to get, so he never actually told me who it was. My first answer was the mighty Canterbury Bulldogs who fell to the might of the salary cap investigation. Gosh Captain Obvious, did you use your super sleuth powers to work that one out?
It turns out that there is another one. My mind is set on the Sydney Roosters who are full of internationals but then I think �Hey, how can they break an unlimited salary cap?� Two down and twelve to go (I�m assuming he�s not trying to clue out that it�s actually Souths) and I�ve still got no clue.
While I was practising my daily voodoo ritual on Brandell�s groin a thought hits me, what if it was the Panthers! It was a stupid thought but I hoped to god it was them so I could rub it into Brandell, so I continue to speculate.
How does a side go from Wooden Spooners into Premiers in a space of a few years? Was it dedication and hard work? The North Sydney Bears have been hard at work trying to get back into the competition but they keep failing. If Brandell gets more girls on the town then I do, next week I�ll get plastic surgery and pick up more.
Wait a minute� spending more money improves performance. Spending more money on a new engine for your car to win a drag race or spending more money on your Rugby League team, could it actually be the Panthers? Did I actually have some ammunition to shoot down the Randy Man?
I looked at the situation. The Penrith Panthers dominated the competition in 2003, coming completely out of nowhere to win it. Two years later and the Panthers are fighting to avoid the Wooden Spoon with Newcastle and South Sydney. Since their somewhat glorious Premiership victory they�ve lost seven big name players and practically purchased nothing.
Paul Whatuira (Wests), Ryan Girdler (retired), Ben Ross (Cronulla), Martin Lang (retired), Scott Sattler (Wests), Amos Roberts (Sydney City) and Joe Galavao (South Sydney) have or will depart within the two year window since the victory. If that isn�t a worry enough, their explosive pocket rocket: Preston Campbell has already signed with the newly established Gold Coast franchise for the 2007 season. Excuse me if I don�t get excited when I see the Panthers only real purchase was Paul Franze. I have not even mentioned about the juniors they have also lost like Richard Fa'aoso, Ben Pomeroy and Ben Rogers.
When the Canterbury Bulldogs lost Origin representative and former International Braith Anasta, they at least were able to keep Sonny-Bill Williams and Willie Mason, and that was only one lost player. But with six players, you think they are signing the love child of Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer.
Is it possible that the Panthers were over the cap, won the competition and now are trying to get under the cap before they are busted? No Randy tells me, the Panthers are trying to sign an amazing outside back. *jeopardy music plays* could that be Jamie Lyon? Didn�t Jamie Lyon leave Parramatta because �he hated living in the city� but isn�t Penrith a part of Sydney also? Yes they might wear flannelette shirts and thongs but they are still apart of the Sydney metropolitan area.
I think I have worked it all out!
The Panthers have matched the $1mil bid by Salford for Craig Gower, have over spent in key players like Gower, Wesser and Priddis and now are struggling to fit the remaining 22 players into the side. Are the Penrith Panthers going to become the next Newcastle Knights who rely on two big names to guide them to the promised lands? All I know is they need a big play to get them out of this one.
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