SEASONS | 2001

26 matches: 7 wins, 19 losses

Top point scorer: Ryan Girdler – 124 [7 tries, 48 goals]

Top try scorer: Chris Hicks – 13

Player of the Year: Scott Sattler

Stats: themightypanthers.com/season2001.htm

Coming off the back of their best season in nearly a decade, the Panthers lost their first three, conceding an average of 40 points in each of these matches. Occupying the bottom spot on the ladder for the first nine rounds, the return would be only two wins, although one of those was an upset over the 2000 runners up Sydney Roosters.

Back-to-back wins in Rounds 11 and 12 had lifted the Panthers off the bottom, but a seven-match losing streak soon had them back at the bottom. Heading into the final two months, they seemed to be pitted in a battle with fellow cellar dwellars North Queensland. The Panthers seemed safe with two rounds remaining sitting in 12th, however a heavy loss to eventual premiers Newcastle in the final round handed them their first wooden spoon since 1980.

It had been a difficult season across the club, with reports of player unrest. Royce Simmons, who had been coach since 1994 was sacked, and a number of players left the club at season’s end. The club however had been strong in the player market, with a number of new signings that would hopefully change the club’s fortunes for 2002 and beyond. Also arriving would be a new coach in John Lang, who had guided the Sharks through a rather successful period in the 1990s.

In the lower grades, the Jersey Flegg team finished second last whilst the Premier League team made the finals. However, they were eliminated in week 1.

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