“It’s a waste of time developing players” – NRL club chief slams Dolphins move

Bryan Fletcher

Penrith Panthers chief executive Bryan Fletcher says it’s a waste of time developing players, after seeing one of his brightest young stars sign with new NRL club the Dolphins.

Half-back Isaiya Katoa is set to link up with Wayne Bennett’s new club on a three-year deal ahead of their inaugural season in 2023.

The 17-year-old half-back is rated as the best in his age group Down Under.

But his pathway at the Panthers is blocked by established first-team pairing Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary, still both only in their mid-20s.

Bryan Fletcher told the Daily Telegraph: “”There has to be protection or compensation.

“It’s a waste of time developing them. For us and other developing clubs (rival teams) can just sit there and pluck them out.

“It’s frustrating but that’s the rules at the moment.”

Since winning the 2021 NRL Grand Final, Penrith have said goodbye to regular starter Matt Burton to Canterbury Bulldogs.

Burton, 21, had been with the Panthers since a junior but signed a three-year deal with the Bulldogs back in November 2020.

Their former Under 20s captain Brent Naden has also departed for the Bulldogs.

Tyrone May was sacked following his social media postings after the Grand Final victory, and has since moved to Super League with Catalans.

In recent seasons they have also lost the likes of Josh Mansour, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Siona Katoa.

English touch at the Dolphins?

The Dolphins continue to shake things up with their recruitment; having already lured Queensland State of Origin star Felise Kaufusi and brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich.

Brisbane’s English centre Herbie Farnworth is reportedly next on their shopping list; but he is believed to have strong interest from English rugby union clubs.

Farnworth, 22, is out of contract at the end of 2022 and the Broncos are keen to keep him.

CONTEXT: Englishman Herbie Farnworth could join new NRL club Dolphins

But the Dolphins have offered him the chance to be their first choice right centre in 2023.

The former Wigan St Patricks and Newton Storm youngster was punted from the England elite performance squad by coach Shaun Wane last year.

He made his NRL debut with the Broncos back in 2019.

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About James Gordon 7073 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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