Panthers Greatest Grand Final Team - Centres

Who do you consider to be our greatest grand final centre’s?

  • Brad Fittler
  • Col Bentley
  • Ryan Girdler
  • Paul Whatuira
  • Tyrone May
  • Stephen Chrichton

0 voters

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BRAD FITTLER

A junior with several clubs in the Parramatta junior league, before playing with Cambridge Park, and an Australian schoolboys representative out of St Dominic’s & McCarthy Catholic College.

Fittler made his debut for the Panthers in 1989, playing 119 games over 7 seasons, including back to back Grand Finals in 1990 & 1991. He scored 31 tries, including a try in the 1990 decider, as well as kicking 5 goals & 2 field goals during his time at Penrith.

Transferring to the Roosters in 1996, where he would play 217 games over 9 seasons, including captaining them in the 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2004 Grand Finals. He scored 91 tries for the Roosters, as well as kicking 9 goals & 8 field goals.

Fittler represented City Origin 7 times, scoring 1 try.

He represented NSW 31 times, scoring 8 tries & kicking 2 field goals.

He represented Australia 38 times, scoring 17 tries, as well as a goal & field goal.

Since retiring he has coached the Roosters, City Origin, NSW & Lebanon.

COL BENTLEY

A Cudgen junior, graded with Penrith in 1986, he played 108 games over 7 seasons, including the 1990 & 1991 Grand Finals. He scored 12 tries.

He was picked up by Manly in 1993, but would play just 3 games in 2 seasons.

He returned to Penrith in 1996, playing 6 games in his final season.

RYAN GIRDLER

An Illawarra junior, he made his debut in 1991, playing 23 games over 2 seasons, scoring 8 tries & kicking 43 goals.

Recruited to Penrith in 1993, he would go on to play 204 games over 12 seasons, including the 2003 Grand Final. He would go on to become Panthers greatest point scorer, with 101 tries, 581 goals & 6 field goals to his name.

He represented NSW on 10 occasions (2 during SL), scoring 7 tries & kicking 34 goals.

Representing Australia on 14 occasions (4 during SL), he scored 8 tries & kicked 40 goals.

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PAUL WHATUIRA

A Wainuiomata (NZ) junior, and Rugby Union player in his school days, he was graded with the Warriors in 2000, playing 5 games.

In 2001 he moved to the Storm, playing 6 games, scoring 2 tries.

He joined Panthers in 2002, playing 62 games over 3 seasons, including the 2003 Premiership. He scored 21 tries.

Recruited by the Wests Tigers in 2005, he played 58 games over 3 seasons, including the 2005 Grand Final. He scored 30 tries.

Moving over to England in 2008, he played 67 games over 3 seasons at Huddersfield, scoring 26 tries.

He returned to the NRL in 2011, playing 1 game for Parramatta.

He played 1 game for Aotearoa Maori in 2000.

He represented New Zealand 16 times, scoring 4 tries.

TYONE MAY

A Minchinbury Jets junior, he made his first grade debut in 2017, and has played 35 games including the 2020 Grand Final. He has scored 7 tries.

He represented Samoa once in 2018, scoring a try.

STEPHEN CHRICHTON

A St. Clair Comets junior, he made his first grade debut in 2019. He has played 26 goals games, including the 2020 Grand Final, scoring 17 tries (1 in the Grand Final) & kicking 7 goals.

This position is a very uneven playing field, with arguably 2 of our greatest ever players (Fittler & Girdler) having a huge advantage over the other 4 candidates.

Many people (including some Panthers fans) forget that Fittler played in the centres early in his career. His tackle on a runaway Meninga in the 1991 decider was similar to, although not as memorable as, Sattler’s 2003 effort on Byrne.

Girdler (aka The Intercept King) will forever be remembered as one of the finest centres in the game.

Chrichton may one day join them as one of our greatest, but it is too soon in his career for him to claim that title.

Bentley & Whatuira were both very capable centres, who played in 2 Grand Finals each.

With all due respect, May is only on this list by way of one of the most bizarre coaching decisions of our history. It really should have been Naden in this poll.

4 Likes

Brad Fittler and Ryan Girdler

Stephen Crichton goes into the Brian Tóo category, probs going to be a great player, but the 2 above are proven at all levels.

3 Likes

Fittler & Girdler, hands down.

2 Likes
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