Penrith's staggering request to NRL after securing minor premiership

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
The Panthers, pictured here after securing the minor premiership with their win over South Sydney.
The Panthers secured the minor premiership with their win over South Sydney. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Penrith Panthers are set to ask the NRL if they can be presented with the JJ Giltinan Shield one week early so they can celebrate in front of their home fans.

The Panthers secured the minor premiership on Thursday night after a 26-22 win over South Sydney at Accor Stadium.

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With just two regular season games remaining, the Panthers now have an unassailable lead atop the NRL ladder and are assured of winning the minor premiership.

Tradition dictates that the minor premiers are awarded the JJ Giltinan Shield after the final game of the home and away season.

But the Panthers will travel to North Queensland to play the Cowboys in Round 25, meaning their home crowd won't get to see them lift the shield.

Penrith chief executive Brian Fletcher has therefore asked the NRL to present the Panthers with the shield after their Round 24 clash against the Warriors at Bluebet Stadium.

“We’d love to receive the trophy next weekend, our fans deserve to have it presented in front of them,” Fletcher told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“It will be a sellout crowd for that reason if we get to do that.

“I’ll speak with (NRL chief executive) Andrew Abdo on Friday. You don’t want to be carting the trophy all the way up to north Queensland when the minor premiership is already over.”

Liam Martin, pictured here playing the hero as Penrith beat South Sydney to secure the NRL minor premiership.
Liam Martin was the hero as Penrith beat South Sydney to secure the NRL minor premiership. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Panthers secure minor premiership with two games remaining

An understrength Penrith side secured their second minor premiership in three years with a thrilling victiry over the red-hot Rabbitohs.

An ankle injury put his season in doubt a week ago and his night was stymied by two bombed tries, but Panthers back-rower Liam Martin stood up when it counted, capping his miraculous recovery with the defending premiers' match-winning try in the last two minutes.

"It's been a tremendous three-year period for the club," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said, reflecting on securing another minor premiership with two games to spare.

"Having said that, when we start the finals in two weeks' time (the minor premiership) is not going to mean that much."

Liam Martin, pictured here after scoring the winning try for Penrith against South Sydney.
Liam Martin celebrates after scoring the winning try for Penrith against South Sydney. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Still without three of their best in Nathan Cleary, James Fisher-Harris (suspensions) and Jarome Luai (knee injury), the task was lofty for Penrith on Thursday night.

The Rabbitohs, virtually at full strength, had lost just once since Latrell Mitchell's recovery from his hamstring injury (in golden point) and had averaged more points than any other side in games since the representative round.

But, inspired by their own fullback Dylan Edwards' return from injury, the Panthers rediscovered the physicality that eluded them against Melbourne last week and took it up to the Rabbitohs in a match of finals-like intensity.

The loss all-but confirmed South Sydney won't finish the season in the top four, leaving them in fifth behind the Melbourne Storm.

with AAP

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