PLAYERS | Robbie Beckett


Panther 359

144 matches [1994-2001]

264 points [66 tries]


An exciting winger who would become a regular fixture in the Panthers backline from the mid 1990s to the turn of the century. Beckett was the club’s top try scorer in 1995, 1996 and 1998.

He would be selected for Australia for the World Nines pre-season competition in 1997. Further representative honours would evade Beckett, however, he had previously played for City in 1995 and 1996.

He would leave Penrith at the end of 2001 with a total of 66 tries, and at the time the fourth highest try scorer for the club.

Beckett joined the UK Super League club Halifax before returning to Australia and playing out his career at the Wests Tigers in 2003.

PLAYERS | Frank Puletua


Panther 398

152 matches [1998-2001; 2004-2010]

16 points [4 tries]


Older brother of Tony, he debuted in 1998. Over the next four seasons, he would play 31 matches, mostly off the bench but occasionally would start in the front row. Of Samoan heritage, he represented Samoa in the 2000 World Cup.

He would leave the Panthers after signing with the re-admitted South Sydney Rabbitohs for the 2002 season. After two seasons, he returned to the Panthers in 2004.

In his second stint, he would once again be predominantly used as a bench forward before finally earning a front row starting spot in the final round of the 2006 season.

He had signed on with the new team Gold Coast Titans for their debut season in 2007, however, was granted a release on compassionate grounds in the off-season and remained at Penrith.

Puletua would start earning more starting spots in the coming seasons, and in 2010 had joined a select club being the 16th player to make 150 first grade appearances for Penrith.

He would announce his retirement early in the 2011 season although he had been named in the squad for that season.

A talented artist, he has pursued a career post football in this field. He was commissioned by the club to paint a portrait of all 17 players selected in the 2006 Team of Legends.

PLAYERS | Matt Adamson


Panther 324

157 matches [1993-2001]

128 points [31 tries, 2 goals]


Taree junior who had debuted at Parramatta in 1991 before joining the Panthers in 1993 with his older brother Phil.

He initially started out as a lanky fullback and winger, who then shifted to the forwards in 1996. Adamson’s form during the Super League season of 1997 saw him selected for both New South Wales and Australia.

At the turn of the century, his form saw him good enough to warrant possible selection for the 2000 World Cup squad (where he missed selection), but would play in 2 matches for New South Wales during the 2001 State of Origin series.

However, he was increasingly showing signs of frustration at the Panthers, at one stage publicly criticising coach Royce Simmons. Both would leave at the end of the season, with Adamson signing with English Super League club Leeds.

He would return to Australia for one season with Canberra in 2005 before retiring.

Adamson would return to Penrith in 2007 as an assistant to new coach Matt Elliott, and amidst the club’s injury crisis that season had registered a contract with the NRL to make a playing return if required – it would never eventuate.

He was sacked at the end of the 2008 season, and has since continued his career in coaching as well as being in the media.

PLAYERS | Tim Sheens


Panther 62

166 matches [1970-1982]

33 points [11 tries]


Part of a famous footballing family from the Penrith area, Sheens made his first grade debut in 1970.

In 1974, he was awarded the club’s player of the year. A noted skilled ball player, Sheens initially started as a second rower, and would occasionally fill in other positions in the forwards before making a shift to the front row later in his career.

At the end of the 1982 season, he retired with a then club record of 166 first grade appearances across 13 seasons after not being able to come to terms with the club.

After a brief stint as captain-coach for Campbelltown in 1983, he was lured back to the Panthers in 1984 as the first grade coach. The appointment would mark a change in the club’s fortunes, as they would break through for their maiden finals appearance in 1985. He would coach 98 matches for Penrith, before moving on at end of 1987 for a successful stint at Canberra, and a series of other clubs afterwards, including a period as Kangaroos coach.

PLAYERS | Rhys Wesser


Panther 399

177 matches [1998-2008]

454 points [113 tries, 1 goal]


Rockhampton born fullback who debuted at Penrith as a 19 year old in 1998.

However, he would play only 13 matches in his first three seasons at the Panthers but would assume the first-choice fullback position upon the departure of Peter Jorgensen in 2001.

In 2002, he would cross for 19 tries to set a club record for most tries in a season by a player. Wesser’s breakout season would be in 2003, displaying scintillating form at the back and where he would break the record again scoring 25 tries (and be the competition’s leading try scorer) as the Panthers marched towards their second premiership.

His form would be rewarded with selection in all three matches for Queensland in the 2004 State of Origin series, where he was solid at fullback.

In the subsequent seasons, Wesser would not be able to reach the same heights of 2003-2004, but still was a reliable try scoring fullback for the Panthers.

He would make a return to State of Origin for the final match of the 2006 season, playing in the unaccustomed role of wing. Later in the season, his performances to date were honoured by being named at fullback in the “Team of Legends” to commemorate the Panthers 40th anniversary.

In 2007, he would overtake the club record shared by Greg Alexander and Ryan Girdler of most tries for the club.

With the arrival of head coach Matt Elliott that year, it was reported that he was one of a number of players from the 2003 premiership winning team who were told that they could look elsewhere – this was confirmed in 2008 as he was released one year early from his contract by signing on with South Sydney.

He would play for three seasons at the Rabbitohs before retiring at the end of the 2011 season.

PLAYERS | Carl Macnamara


Panther 303

181 matches [1991-2001]

16 points [4 tries]


Penrith junior who made his debut early in the 1991 season.

Whilst he would not be part of the club’s maiden premiership win later in the season, he would establish himself as a mainstay in the Panthers forward pack throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium and become one of Penrith’s most loyal one club men.

He would retire at the end of the 2001 season with a total of 181 first grade matches, which at the time was fifth on the most matches for Penrith list.

Whilst further honours on the representative scene would elude him, MacNamara was honoured with a life membership to the Panthers in 2017.

PLAYERS | Luke Priddis


Panther 418

162 matches [2002-2008]

136 points [34 tries]


Canberra junior who had played at the Raiders and Broncos before arriving at Penrith as a prized recruit for the 2002 season. His arrival ensured that the newly appointed club captain Craig Gower made the move back to halfback.

The hard working and talented hooker made an immediate impact at the Panthers, adding experience to a team that would make a surprise run to that ended with the club’s second premiership in 2003. In the decider, Priddis was the standout player scoring one try and setting up the other two as he was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal.

He would also be one of the club’s more durable players, missing only two matches in his first four seasons (one each in 2003 and 2005 through injury).

In 2005, he earnt a well-deserved but belated Test debut in the one-off Test versus New Zealand in April, and thus becoming the 14th Panther to be a Kangaroo.

The arrival of Matt Elliott as coach in 2007 cast doubts as to his future at the club, and was reportedly told to look elsewhere. Whilst he was able to stay on (and captain the club on a few occasions in this time), this would be short lived and left the Panthers at the end of 2008.

Priddis joined St. George Illawarra where he played for two seasons before retiring at the end of the 2010 season.

PLAYERS | John Cartwright


Panther 248

184 matches [1985-1996]

56 points [14 tries]


One of four sons of founding father Merv Cartwright who played first grade at Penrith.

He debuted just before his 20th birthday, and soon became an integral part of the Panthers back row as they emerged as a premiership heavyweight in the late 1980s. Cartwright possessed a gifted passing game and finding an ability to offload the ball at the point of contact.

Cartwright debuted for New South Wales in 1989, and then in 1990 became the club’s third Australian Test representative when he was selected on the Kangaroo Tour and played in the first Test against Great Britain.

1991 was an injury disrupted season for Cartwright, but was a member of the Panthers maiden premiership winning team, coming off the bench just before half time.

He would assume the club captain role in 1992, which would be a role that he would hold until his final season in 1996. The last couple of seasons however would be plagued by injury, but would continue to provide leadership and experience in a team that was gradually being dismantled from the glory of 1991.

Cartwright would play one more season for Salford in the English Super League before retiring.

He would return to the Panthers in a coaching capacity, being the Second Division (reserve grade) coach in 2000 when the Panthers lost to the Bulldogs in the grand final. He would later become the Gold Coast Titans inaugural first grade coach in 2007, where he would be until he was sacked in 2014.

PLAYERS | Trent Waterhouse


Panther 431

186 matches [2002-2011]

158 points [39 tries, 1 goal]


Tall back rower who was a Cambridge Park junior, and was used to great effect off the bench during the Panthers premiership winning season in 2003.

Waterhouse’s form was rewarded with selection on the Kangaroo Tour, and achieving the rare feat of representing his country before state, becoming Penrith’s 12th Test player and capping it off with a try on debut. He would play all three matches against Great Britain on that tour.

In 2004, he gained a starting role at lock, and would later make his New South Wales debut during that year’s State of Origin series.

By 2007, he had disappeared off the radar with respect to representative football, and injury would restrict him to only 8 appearances that year.

He would shift from lock to second row in 2008. A reappearance of form saw Waterhouse return to both New South Wales and Australian selection in 2009 – he would claim a bit of unwanted history in Game 3 of the State of Origin series that year by becoming the first New South Wales player to be sent off (he would later be cleared by the judiciary).

His senior status would be rewarded by being named as stand-in captain throughout 2009 and 2010 whilst club captain Petero Civoniceva was unavailable.

Midway through the 2011 season, he announced his departure from the Panthers at season’s end, signing with English Super League club Warrington. He would play three seasons before returning to Australia and playing out his career with Thirroul Butchers in the Illawarra competition.

In 2016, Waterhouse was short listed in the Panthers Hall of Fame.

PLAYERS | Ryan Girdler


Panther 377

204 matches [1993-2004]

1572 points [101 tries, 581 goals, 6 field goals]


Girdler was an Illawarra junior who had debuted at the Steelers in 1991 before arriving at the Panthers in 1993 in the search of holding down a more permanent first grade backline position.

A series of injuries in his first two seasons had him seriously considering retirement and a return to Wollongong, however was convinced to stay by then coach Royce Simmons.

He gradually established himself as a classy centre who was also a sharpshooter with the boot – he would become the first choice goalkicker for the next decade and was the club’s top point scorer every season from 1995 to 2002. Girdler also had a nose for the try line, being the club’s top try scorer in 1999 and 2000. He had an uncanny knack to be in the right place at the right time, and at one time was crowned the “intercept king”.

Penrith’s Super League season ended up being Girdler’s breakout year, making his state and Australian debuts. He was also the competition’s top point scorer for that season with 197 points (breaking the then club record for most points in a season held by Greg Alexander – a record he would surpass again in 1999).

Upon the reunification of the two competitions, he was initially overlooked for further representative honours, but made his Test debut in 1999, as well as being selected for New South Wales in the State of Origin series. Late in the season, he set a point scoring record for most points in a match, scoring 28 from 3 tries and 8 goals in Penrith’s 52-10 demolition of Manly.

By 2000, Girdler had established himself as one of the competition’s premier centres. That season, he set more point scoring records – on the representative scene, he scored the most points for New South Wales in a match (32) and in a State of Origin series (52), and most points in a Test match (46), set during the World Cup. On the club scene, he overtook Greg Alexander’s mark of 1100 points, and becoming the club’s top point scorer.

At Penrith, Girdler was selected at five-eighth on occasion, initially as a stop gap but played in this position for most of the 2002 season. In the last round of the season against the Northern Eagles, he equalled the point scoring record he had set in 1999, once again scoring 28 points, this time from 2 tries and 10 goals. Upon the signing of Dally M Medal winner Preston Campbell, he would shift back to the centres for 2003.

Suffering a career threatening sternum injury in the opening round, he returned midway through the season, and by seasons end had a premiership ring, playing at centre in the grand final and converting the first two of the tries (he was off the field with a foot injury when Luke Rooney scored the match winning try late in the match). Girdler was selected on the Kangaroo Tour, marking a return from a two-year absence, however, he was not able to add to his Test appearances after being injured in a warm up match against Wales.

Early in the 2004 season, Girdler announced that he would retire at season’s end, citing an illness related to the sternum injury from the previous season. A hamstring injury suffered later in the season limited his appearances for the remainder of the season – he injured the hamstring whilst crossing over for his 101st try, which equalled Greg Alexander’s record for most Penrith tries). However, he was able to still register 200 first grade appearances for the Panthers. Girdler’s last match was in the preliminary final loss to the Bulldogs. He retired as the club’s top point scorer with 1571 points, as well as

Post retirement, Girdler has ventured into business as well as having a role in the media as a commentator. Furthermore, he was named as centre in the Team of Legends in 2006 to commemorate the club’s 40th anniversary.

Penrith Panthers – from chocolate soldiers to black magic