The talented Wesser is reported to be earning over $300,000 a season; meaning the livewire fullback takes up a big chunk of the Panthers salary cap. A Grand Final winner with the Panthers in 2003, Wesser has been with the club for a decade and has remained tight lipped today about a possible relocation from his current club.
Named Penrith’s player of the year in 2006 at the club’s annual presentation function, Wesser has enjoyed a successful run with the Panthers. In 2006, breaking the club try-scoring record which was jointly held by Greg Alexander and Ryan Girdler.
The recent explosive form of Panthers rookies such as Lachlan Coote has put the pressure squarely on Wesser as well as Penrith club officials, as they try and justify Wessers large pay-packet. Panthers coach Matt Elliott has been forced to shift Wesser on to the wing to accomodate the exhilarating rookie Coote and have a star player on big dollars pushed to the wing wouldn’t sit well with club officials and bean counters.
As the Panthers try to arrange a deal with Wessers management and potential homes for next season, it’s believed that Penrith are open to paying at least party of Wessers contract for the 2009 NRL season in the hope a ‘sub-letting’ deal can speed up the process and find the veteran fullback a home before the end of this year.
Should Wesser leave the Panthers, only a small number of players from the core group that won the Panthers the Grand Final in 2003 will remain as Penrith continue their rebuilding phase.
The Penrith club will want this contract arrangement dealt with quickly or quietly at least, as the club tries to maintain its recent good form run. The possibility of player unrest and uncertainty as the Wesser situation goes public could have a negative affect on the clubs results. The Panthers face the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Park this weekend and enter the game with the knowledge that possibly only 4 more wins can secure them a place in the 2008 NRL Top 8