Gower in talks with Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gower in talks with Panthers

David Beniuk 10/04/2011 04:14:29 PM Comments (0)

Dual international Craig Gower is in talks with his old NRL club Penrith, admitting he is "part of the furniture" at the base of the Blue Mountains.

Gower, who will turn 33 later this month, is off contract with French rugby union club Bayonne and will decide between playing at this year's Rugby World Cup with Italy and a swansong in the 13-man game.

He has held informal talks with Parramatta and Panthers coach Matt Elliott has also expressed his interest.

"At the moment we're having a bit of a chat," Gower told ABC radio on Sunday.

"I'm off-contract and I'm looking at my options while I'm back in Australia."

Gower could be back in the NRL in May if he decides against prolonging his three-year stay in France and he admitted a return to the place it all began had appeal.

"Of course. That's where I played all my footy and I'm part of the furniture out here," he said.

"That could be an option. I'll see how things transpire."

Asked about the Panthers' interest on Sunday, Elliott said: "Certainly.

"I think depending on Gowie's fitness, and you can't question his desire to return to the NRL and I think it's his home club, so there's some things there that make some sense."

Gower said he hoped to know more about any interest from Parramatta this week but was yet to receive an offer.

But he said his decision would not be about money.

"If that was the case I'd be staying in Europe," he said.

"When you come to a certain stage it's obviously important but you want to finish on your own note.

"I feel I've got a couple of years to go and it's (Penrith) where I started and obviously I've got a desire to play again.

"If something works out, it works out."

The Panthers eased the pressure on themselves with a comprehensive 36-10 win over Canberra on Saturday night.

But regular halfback Luke Walsh took a knock on his injured shoulder, describing it as a week to week proposition, a situation that would make former NSW half Gower a tempting recruitment target.

The Raiders have struggled to integrate their own veteran half, Matt Orford, into their side after his return from the UK but Gower said that wasn't a turn-off.

"If I come back I've got to work on my fitness," he said.

"I don't really care if I've got to go and play a couple of games in the NSW Cup to get myself right, to get my timing and get up to speed."

Elliott agreed with that assessment.

"He's going to be in a unique situation where he's going to have to, if he does come back into any NRL team, work his way back into the team which will be a great challenge for a guy like him," he said.

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