Penrith Panthers have defended themselves amid claims of arrogance leveled at the club from Storm chairman Matt Tripp ahead of their grudge match on Thursday night.
Ahead of the Round 22 clash, where the Panthers will take on the Storm, comments by Penrith chairman Greg Alexander suggested Melbourne had brought their fight to the game, prompting a fiery response.
“Evan Cree has responded to Penrith vice-chairman Greg Alexander and Storm chairman Matt Tripp, who labeled the Penrits club arrogant. Alexander pioneered fighting tactics in the game,” Brett Anasta said on NRL 360.
Stream every game of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership season live and ad-break free when you play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Tripp responded with this pointed attack: “For the vice-chairman of one of our biggest rivals to make baseless and stupid comments, it just goes to the arrogance of that club and their position in the game.”
Panthers coach Evan Cray has defended the club after Tripp’s scathing attack based on comments Alexander made in his advisory role, which had nothing to do with the Penrith club.
“It’s completely unfair,” Cleary said.
“I’m not here to judge anyone. I know Brandi (Alexander) is a fantastic analyst. He is a decorated man with many years in the game as a player and commentator. I think if anyone can have an opinion it’s Brandy and most of his opinions are spot on.
“That was his opinion in a different role, so I don’t think it’s fair to label everyone at our club what we are.
More NRL news
‘Must be hit’: Poultry crisis as seven stars order half salary cap
Whispers: Bronco out cold as rivals deny approach, Eels gun open for code switch.
Roster overhaul: Tigers target former Raiders star Bateman as Shins get creative
NRL RUN HOME: Eels star’s headline flash as frustrating Broncos reality kicks in
“I don’t know why people say that, but I don’t believe it’s true. I don’t think there’s any way you can do that if you’re disrespectful or arrogant, the consistency we’ve shown over the last three years.
“I’m not sure how other clubs do it, but if there’s a team with players who spend a lot of time with the public and the kids, especially after a game, I want to see our kids.
“We’re very proud of our club and our kids. We’re probably not perfect, but I’d like to think we’re doing a good job.
“The Penrith Panthers are not doing a good job, they are doing a great job,” Anastas said.
“They’ve been fantastic in the last few years and they’re close to greatness to go back. Are they arrogant?
Get all the NRL news, highlights and analysis straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Register now!!
The Daily Telegraph’s Brent Ripp believes the Panthers need to draw a clear line between what they do on and off the field, and defends the arrogance they hear from players during games.
“I think you have to distinguish between what you’re like on the field and what you’re like off the field,” Read said.
“Evan was talking about how they do a lot with the kids. Off the field, they’re great guys like Jarome Lui and Nathan Curry.
“They play with swagger on the field. They play with little arrogance. You must have this to be successful. ”
Anasta agrees that arrogance can be a powerful tool for a sports team when used correctly.
“Don’t you want this?” Anasta said.
“You have to have confidence in any sport. Some people think you cross the line a little bit, but you need confidence. You need a little bit of arrogance. You have to go out there, I’ve got you covered.”
Paul Kent believes the Panthers are a fantastic club off the field and if the players show arrogance on the field, he believes their success has given them the right to express themselves.
“It all boils down to narratives,” Kent said.
“They’ve got action. They’re confident and they’re aggressive and they let you know it and they enjoy showing you how well they’re doing.
“This is on the field. Ivan never spoke. He talked to them off the field where he was 100% correct.
“The way they connect with their fans and give back to the community is great.
“I think what they are doing on the field is not bad. Sometimes it makes me angry. I don’t like seeing certain things, but it’s part of the bigger picture.
“Everybody wants to be either completely black or completely white. They’re not both. They’re somewhere in the middle and that’s where the real fun happens.”
“They’re a little arrogant on the field, but it’s a healthy arrogance.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield believes the Panthers players are expressing their pride and upbringing.
“You don’t want a boring football team,” Rothfield said.
“You need personality. You need characters.
“These kids that we see on the football field from Penrith are characters who grew up in the tough areas of Druitt and St Mary’s in the district.
“They love to celebrate. I don’t think it’s presumptuous.