Civoniceva to stay a Panther in 2010 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Civoniceva to stay a Panther in 2010

By Todd Balym 16/04/2009 02:25:59 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott says Petero Civoniceva will remain a Panther in 2010 and possibly beyond after the NRL club took up the third-year option on his contract.

Civoniceva had been linked with a possible return to Brisbane next year but just as the Broncos were about to arrive for Friday's clash at CUA Stadium Elliott confirmed the Test prop was going nowhere.

Civoniceva, 33 next week, joined Penrith in 2008 on a two-year deal with the club holding an option to extend his stay for a third season.

Elliott says that extension was never in doubt and the club may look at offering the tireless prop another contract to prolong his NRL career.

"He is someone who has had a massive influence on the club both on and off the field," Elliott said.

"He has certainly showed that he can contribute to the club in a lot of ways.

"I have run out of accolades for him, to be honest with you."

Civoniceva's retention is a timely boost for the Panthers as they look to overcome the disappointment of last Saturday's two-point loss to the Storm in Melbourne.

It was the second time this year Elliott felt his men had been denied victory by refereeing decisions but the coach is adamant the players will rebound from the heartache.

"I don't think our confidence has been too knocked around," he said.

"We would be in a lot of trouble if we start focusing on could have, should have, might have. We will end up in a heap of trouble doing that.

"That's not where our head needs to be at. Our head needs to be at getting ready for tomorrow night against a team that is in pretty good form."

He also wasn't concerned that recent talk promoting centre Michael Jennings for a NSW State of Origin debut would affect his players.

"What we all need to do for the team's sake is focus on what the team needs right now. I'm very confident in the players for that," he said.

Elliott rates the Broncos as one of the form teams of the competition this year and says Friday's clash will be another good gauge for his young side after pushing NRL heavyweights Melbourne to the death.

He has yet to decide whether to start young five-eighth Wade Graham for the first time this year and will make his decision after the club's final training session on Thursday night.

"(Brisbane coach) Ivan (Henjak) has got them competing great," said Elliott.

"They've played some pretty tough opposition and they've been there in every game.

"Even the game they didn't win they were certainly right amongst it.

"They're doing a lot right so it's going to be a great opportunity for us."

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