Business as usual, say stung NRL Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Business as usual, say stung NRL Panthers

By David Beniuk 24/08/2011 06:14:22 PM Comments (0)

Penrith officials insist it's business as usual despite a war erupting over stinging comments from the departing captain of the NRL club, Petero Civoniceva.

Panthers great Mark Geyer on Wednesday attacked Civoniceva, one of the most respected players in the game, for the skipper's parting shot at the club's board.

On a day bad boy Arana Taumata pleaded guilty to using a forged prescription to access Valium, it was the reaction to revelations Civoniceva used the Panthers' official newspaper to call for the board to be replaced that caused most ructions.

Chairman Don Feltis maintained his silence on Wednesday but ex-Test forward Geyer, the brother-in-law of board member and former Panthers team-mate Greg Alexander, hit out at Civoniceva.

"He's the captain of a club that has under-achieved. Blame yourself," Geyer said on his Austereo network radio program.

"I think Petero is throwing mud before he leaves, and he's aiming it at the wrong people."

The Panthers brought high-profile former coach and media commentator Phil Gould on board mid-season as part of a shake-up of the club.

Geyer said Gould had more to answer for than the board.

"The board are there for one reason - to look after the club," Geyer said.

"If you're going to blame anyone, blame Phil Gould, because Gus (Gould) has gone in to save an under-achieving club.

"(The Panthers') last premiership was in 2003. Petero has been there for (four) years. You could say he's been an under-achieving captain.

"If Petero is so worried about the board members, don't go to Queensland. Stay and become a board member."

The Brisbane-bound skipper's comments were the latest flare-up in a tumultuous year at Penrith, who parted ways with coach Matt Elliott and chief executive Mick Leary and were forced to discipline several stars including Michael Jennings.

Taumata, who was stood down by the club in June, was placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond and told to undergo counselling and medical treatment.

The Panthers were yet to decide on the fate of the 22-year-old, who has been sacked by four clubs, but an official said no action would be taken against Civoniceva and it was business as usual.

Civoniceva avoided the club's censors to write in Panther News: "We have seen many changes to the football department over recent months.

"Fans and supporters, you have the chance to further that change by electing a new board later in the year.

"We need a successful, passionate and driven board who can give Phil (Gould) the backing and support he needs to re-engage with the football and business community."

The 35-year-old Queensland great, who has played 45 Tests and 30 State of Origin games, told News Limited his concerns included a lack of consultation over coaching appointments, losses made by the Panthers' business and the ability of the current board to see through Gould's vision for a western Sydney powerhouse.

Elliott was replaced by assistant Steve Georgallis who, despite being told he had been given an audition for the top job, had little more than a week in the position before it was announced Warriors coach Ivan Cleary was on his way for 2012.

The Panthers finished second after the regular season last year but are out of finals contention in 2011.

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