Veteran half granted release from Penrith

Jamie Soward

In some respects, it may not have been the way he wanted to leave the club but for Penrith Panthers half Jamie Soward, it is a decision he has taken in his stride.

Soward indicated via Twitter that he would be rejoining the London Broncos, an English side he has previously played for.

The 31-year old played in a total of 53 NRL games for the Panthers after joining ahead of the 2014 season and has a chance to finish his career in England.

“Jamie feels the time is now right to pursue an opportunity to finish his career in England,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.

“How playing careers begin and end is not an exact science but he has recognised there are a number of emerging talents at the club who deserve the chance to progress.”

Always a fan of Soward, Gould left the door open for a return to Soward for a return to the club down the track in a coaching role.

“Jamie has been wonderful for the Panthers and has done everything we have ever asked of him. He has been a leader, on and off the field, and played a key role in the development of our younger players,” added Gould.

“If Jamie sees a future for himself in coaching, once his playing days have come to an end, it is my intention that he will begin that coaching career here at the Panthers.”

Current Panthers CEO Corey Payne, who played alongside Soward whilst at the St George Illawarra Dragons, echoed the sentiments from Gould.

“Jamie has been a great servant to this club and to rugby league in Australia,” he said.

“I wish him all the best with his future endeavours and want him to know he will always be welcome at the Panthers.”

Soward, who has previously played for the London Broncos for a short stint, is excited to return to the club.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Broncos and pulling on the number 33 jersey again,” commented Soward.

“I have such fantastic memories of my time in London and am very happy to have been offered the chance to do it all over again.

“I’ve been watching the Broncos this season – they’re working hard, and are being justly rewarded with their wins and second place in the league.

“I can’t wait to rip in with the boys in training and start the Super 8s.”

With a crucial period coming up for the Broncos side, coach Andrew Henderson knows that Soward’s experience will be crucial for the club.

“Obviously, Jamie is an outstanding player with a huge wealth of experience – he’s got over 200 NRL games under his belt with St. George Illawarra and the Panthers, has played State of Origin, and was a key member of the St. George team to win the NRL premiership in 2010,” said Henderson.

“After speaking to Jamie, it’s clear to me he is a team player and a genuine competitor with a will to win. This attitude fits with what we’re building here at the Broncos: a competitive team, with a winning mentality.

Henderson also made mention of how valuable a player like Soward will be to their Super 8’s campaign.

“Jamie’s arrival comes at a good time for us as we prepare for the final push in our season. He will inject some enthusiasm and create excitement within the team and the club,” Henderson added.

“His experience and leadership will stand us in good stead for what’s to come in the Super 8s.”

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