Doncaster Lakers have made their first major signing of the close season in beating numerous Super League clubs to the signature of 25 year old Australian Scrum Half, Joel Penny.
The move will see Penny link up with Lakers Head Coach Keiran Dempsey, his former mentor at North Sydney where the two were heavily involved in the squad that won the Jersey Flegg U19's competition.
Dempsey also coached Penny at reserve grade level with North Sydney before the highly rated half back moved on to play first grade with Northern Eagles. More recently, Joel has been plying his trade on these shores for the previous two years having successful spells with Halifax last season and Whitehaven the season before that. With the Cumbrian outfit Penny was central to talking the side to the 2005 LHF Healthplan League 1 Grand Final.
Delighted to have snapped up his main target, Dempsey said "Joel is the signing we wanted particularly as he knows the way I like my teams to play the game. He will give us great direction around the field and is a real good 'schemer'. Now that we have a quality scrum half in place, we can build a side around him. It was a big decision for Joel to join us, he could have hung around for Super League offers but he has seen the direction the club are taking. I believe the culture we will create at the club was most attractive to him."
Dempsey also believes that Lakers stand-off Graham Holroyd will have a new lease of life at the club as a result of having Penny alongside him in the halves, he said "Joel will give us another direction to the way we play the game and that will certainly take the pressure off Graham Holroyd. Many times over recent years Graham has been left isolated in the team and now we have a scheming scrum half by his side, I feel that he will flourish".
Penny possesses many weapons in his arsenal including a good short kicking game but a try haul of twenty scores in twenty six appearances for Halifax shows that Joel also has a keen eye for the try line and Dempsey said "Joel can certainly run with the footy but the aspect I like most about his game is that he provides lots of options for players off the ball."
Assistant Coach Phil Windley has been working around the clock in order to make the signing of a player he sees as one of the best halfbacks in the league, he said "I have been really busy this week. It has been a long process in getting somebody of Joel's calibre to join the club. We are very excited with the capture of such a player but our attentions now move on to strengthening our forwards as it is important that we have a pack who can create a platform for our pivitol players such as Joel and Graham to work from."