Pritchard matter closed, say Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pritchard matter closed, say Panthers

By Liam FitzGibbon 27/08/2008 05:47:42 PM Comments (0)

Penrith insist Frank Pritchard will remain at the NRL club despite reports the Kiwi backrower could have played his last game for the Panthers.

Pritchard will know on Thursday whether or not his season is over after having scans on his injured shoulder on Wednesday afternoon.

But his long-term future remains unclear with fresh rumours he wants a release from the club to play in the English Super League or join rugby union next season.

The nine-man Penrith board met for their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, where they were expected to discuss both Pritchard's future and that of coach Matthew Elliott.

But chairman Mick Leary and director Greg Alexander said the issues were not discussed and reaffirmed the club's stance that Pritchard would not be allowed a release with two years remaining on his contract.

"The matter as far as we're considered is closed and we'll move on," Leary said.

"(Today) was just an ordinary board meeting and there was nothing contentious to mention.

"And anyway, board meetings are board meetings behind closed doors and anyone that talks out of board meetings should not be on a board.

"I think what happens in board meetings, that's where they stay but it was just an ordinary monthly meeting that we have every month."

Asked whether the club would stick firm on its stance of not allowing Pritchard an early release, Leary said: "I've always said that."

Speculation over Pritchard's future intensified after he was accused of feigning injury during the Panthers 40-6 loss to Melbourne on Monday.

But Pritchard, the club and his teammate vehemently denied the claims, with the Kiwi Test star revealing he had been playing in pain for weeks.

Pritchard had MRI scans on the injured shoulder with club doctors expected to know on Thursday morning if he can play any part in the Panthers' push for a finals spot.

If he can not, it is likely a planned off-season shoulder reconstruction will be brought forward.

Pritchard has not been named for Sunday's clash with the Warriors, which the Panthers need to win to remain in contention for the finals.

His manager David Riolo said no official request for a release had been lodged with the Panthers.

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