Things were seemingly looking up for the Panthers, at least that was the word coming from within. Elliott was feeling the love once more from players, the trouble-makers had left the club at the end of 2008 and even Jarrod Sammut was a born again good boy of his own accord.
Well, in the space of a few weeks – it seems a new eruption has occurred.
Veteran Panthers forward Trent Waterhouse and rookie hooker Joel Romelo amazed their training squad recently after trading ferocious blows during a training session.
So intense was the brawl, that the opposing group at training led by Matt Elliott had to stop their drills to contain the situation.
Apparently Waterhouse took exception to a heavy tackle from Romelo, a rookie from the Panthers Under-20 squad yet to make his first grade debut.
After copping the hit, Waterhouse quickly jumped to his feet and eye-balled the smaller 19-year old hooker.
But according to bystanders, the smaller Romelo stood his ground and took it right to the big-name Panthers player.
“Waterhouse just got up from the tackle and they just sort of looked at one another for a split second,” sources said.
After the stare-down, the players apparently erupted into blows.
Nearby teammates quickly jumping to subdue the pair, while Elliott asked the players to “finish it out the back and then return to training.”
Panthers GM Mick Leary confirmed the dust up happened between the players, but believed the players had sorted their differences. He said no action would be taken against either player.
Leary tried to play things down, saying the fight came down to early season jitters and players eager to put in 100 percent at training.
Penrith certainly need some good news and apart from a strong showing against the Eels in this Saturday nights trial – they could be in the lead to win the services of Todd Carney for 2010.
However, Panthers officials will be cautious not to get burned by Carney again. Prior to re-signing with the Raiders, Carney eluded to a strong bond with former coach Matt Elliott – with the new Penrith coach telling club officials he was confident of bringing his former pupil to the Panthers.
It never eventuated, Carney snubbed his former coach and the Panthers to stay in bed with Canberra. The fallout leaving egg on the face of Elliott and most at the Penrith club felt it cost them the services of Peter Wallace who may have been shelved as Carney was painted as the future half solution.
It’s believed Carney will try to link with the NSW Cup feeder side of whatever NRL club he signs with.