Coach Griffin believes tough Panthers are on upward chart
PENRITH coach Anthony Griffin has described his side’s season as “really good” despite the pre-season premiership favourites crashing out in the second week of the finals.
The Panthers lost 13-6 to Brisbane on Friday night after being bundled out in the corresponding match last season.
While plenty of pundits predicted the Panthers to lift the premiership trophy for the first time since 2003, Griffin has always distanced himself from forecasting a title.
“I thought it was really good,” Griffin said of his season.
“I would love to be still playing. Still need a couple of days to sit back and look through. I thought it was a real growth year for us as a club.
“We played tougher football this year against quality opposition. Last year with our run into the finals we probably picked off a few sides that were never going to be in the finals. We were playing well.
“This year we had to earn our spot there and had to win away to Canberra and New Zealand under pressure with a lot of people out of our side. Everyone we played in the back end of the year were playing for their position.
“I thought it was a real build on what we did last year. The hype didn’t come from us, that was external.”
Injuries and off-field issues plagued the Panthers at times this year as they managed to cling on to a top eight spot.
Skipper Matt Moylan’s future remains unresolved, with Griffin saying his absence was not a reason for their early exit.
“I don’t think (we missed Moylan in key moments),” Griffin said.
“We had a team out there that was capable of doing the job and when you’re playing semi-finals football, you have one or two opportunities and that was the difference.
“We have no control over (Moylan rumours). Our club have been upfront and spoken about it. It’s a process that our player is going through. We care for him and we’ve put him through that process.”
Panthers rookie five-eighth Tyrone May looks to have ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament which will rule him out of representing Samoa at the end-of-year World Cup.
“He’ll work hard and get his body right. He’s got a long career in front of him,” Griffin said.