Not even premiers can keep all the big guns as the Penrith Panthers confirm the signing of Luke Garner and the re-signings of both Chris Smith and Eddie Blacker. 

Garner’s signing, in particular, is one of note, as he is expected to be the man to replace the departing Viliame Kikau.

Garner has signed a two-year deal with the Panthers and will link up with Ivan Cleary again who previously coached him at the Wests Tigers.

“I’m really happy to have Luke join us,” said Cleary.

“I think he can really add to our team and we can add to him too.

“I have a great relationship with him from the past and I think he is the kind of guy who can flourish in our environment.”

Panthers CEO Matt Cameron believes all three players can flourish at the club.

“Luke will join us with a wealth of experience to his name, and there’s no doubt his signing will add plenty of value to our NRL squad,” Cameron said.

“As a player who developed through our system and return to Panthers later in his career, it’s great to have Chris remain at the club for a further season.

“Eddie has been a great contributor to Panthers since joining the club last season, and his re-signing adds to the depth of our front row stocks.”

By ricky

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