With the captaincy vacant following the departure of prop Petero Civoniceva, the Panthers today held a press conference to announce their new captain – and it was none other, than Panthers faithful and fan favourite, Luke Lewis.
Lewis, who was started his career with the Panthers as a young winger, has turned into one of the games most versatile players, having played every position in the NRL, except for prop.
On that note, with his versatility, Lewis feels that the final piece of his continued development, was to be given the captaincy.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride from the start,” Lewis, who is entering his 12th season of first grade with Penrith, said.
“Ever since I’ve moved from the backs into the forwards, my passion for the game has come back.
“(And) to get named as captain is a massive honour.”
It was a simple drop-in to chat with players after his Four Nations tournament appearances, that led to new Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, informing the Panthers favourite of the decision.
“I’ve got to say it probably was (an easy decision),” Cleary told reporters.
“Sometimes with a great leader it is pretty obvious. It’s been perfectly obvious the last couple of weeks when Luke’s been back at training how everyone wants to follow him.
“In that sense it was (easy).
“I’ve admired Luke from a distance and now I’ve got the pleasure to work with him. I’m certainly looking forward to it.
“I know the players enjoy playing with him and will definitely enjoy playing under him.”
With the added captaincy burden, Lewis knows that the next step, is to trust the Panthers leadership group.
“We have a lot of great players and blokes in the senior group here and basically when ‘Pet’ captained he put a lot of emphasis back on the leadership group,” Lewis said.
“I think we’ve got the exact same thing, a great leadership group and some new guys coming through who can play a lot of first grade.
“I think I’ll be putting a lot of pressure back on them to help me out.”