Retaining key, upcoming players is a boost for any club and the Penrith Panthers have acted swiftly, re-signing back-rower Tyrone Peachey and utility back, Waqa Blake until 2017.
It was at the end of the 2013 season when Peachey first joined the Panthers from the Cronulla Sharks and although injury cruelled his finish to the 2014 season, he is excited to stay on board at the club.
Iâ€™m really grateful to have the chance to stay on with Penrith for another two years,” said Peachey.
“I have loved my time here so far and Iâ€™ve made some really great mates, and the support from members and fans has been amazing. I think Iâ€™m playing my best footy at the moment, and Ivan is giving me plenty of opportunity to prove myself, which makes me want to work even harderâ€.
For Blake, it was an easy decision. With the time and effort the club have put in him and his development over the years, he wanted to repay their form their hard work.
â€œIt is a real privilege to re-sign with Panthers for another year. Ivan (Cleary) and Gus (Gould) are such great mentors and I have learned so much during pre-season training,” said Waqa.
“My goal is to try and make first grade this year, and Iâ€™m really keen to see how far I can take my career with Penrith.
â€œI just want to thank the club for this opportunity, and our members and fans for all of their support.”
Knowing how talented the duo are, Penrith District Rugby League CEO Justin Pascoe says the club is excited to retain the promising players.
â€œTyrone is an enjoying an exciting period in his career with his recent selection and performance in the Indigenous All Stars, and we are looking forward to watching him develop further as a player, and as a young man,” said Pascoe.
â€œAnd Waqa is a remarkable young man who has the NRL world at his feet. Everyone here at the club is keen to see him reach his full potential, and we will strive to ensure he has all the tools and resources he needs to grow.”
The Panthers have always been about junior retention and re-signing this duo was always a priority for the club.
“To have both Tyrone Peachey and Waqa Blake agree to extend their contracts with our club is a huge vote of confidence in the culture, coaching and development programs our Head Coach Ivan Cleary and his team have created here at Panthers,” said Penrith Panthers Executive General Manager, Phil Gould.
“And Tyrone Peachey excites me. Eighteen months ago I predicted representative football was definitely in this young man’s future and everything I’ve seen from him since he arrived at Panthers has convinced me this will become a reality. Tyrone is a quality person and an absolute delight to have as part of our club”.”
Having seen Blake come through the ranks, Gould knows it is only a matter of time before he plays first-grade.
“We feel so fortunate to have young Waqa as part of our club for the next three seasons. Waqa is yet another graduate from our Premiership winning NYC squad from 2013. I have no doubt this quality young man has a long and distinguished NRL career in front of him,” said Gould.