SEASONS | 2002

24 matches: 7 wins, 17 losses

Top point scorer: Ryan Girdler – 100 [6 tries, 38 goals]

Top try scorer: Rhys Wesser – 19

Player of the Year: Craig Gower


A number of new recruits as well as new coach John Lang initially did little for the reigning wooden spooners, losing heavily to their western Sydney neighbours Parramatta in the opening round, and remaining winless after nine rounds, with the only points coming from a bye in that time.

The drought was finally broken with a big 38-8 victory over North Queensland in Round 10, which started a mini run of good form, winning three of the next four.

However, Penrith would once again hit a run of poor form, losing their next five and be in second last position, only above the readmitted South Sydney.

But the Panthers would finish the season in a rather encouraging fashion, winning three of their last six – two of those losses were high scoring affairs. Their ladder position also got a bit of a boost late in the season when the table topping Bulldogs were stripped of 37 points for salary cap breaches and went from first to last.

A season that started with a whimper ended with a bang, with the Panthers running 68 points past the Northern Eagles in the final round at Brookvale Oval, recording their second ever biggest win (and biggest away from Penrith), and perhaps providing a glimpse that better times laid ahead.

In the lower grades, both the Jersey Flegg and Premier League sides qualified for the finals, each in the top 4, but were not able to make it to the grand final.


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