Penrith players insist the latest speculation surrounding coach Anthony Griffin won’t distract their premiership charge but know winning is the best way to put the issue to bed.
Reports emerged on Monday suggesting Griffin’s role was the subject of a mid-season review, after two straight losses had the Panthers drop from the top of the ladder.
But Penrith supremo Phil Gould has since denied those, with Penrith insistent that a scheduled review of all football preparations was completed by Griffin and Gould together during the representative round.
It’s understood that included everything from medical staff to lower grade performances, and the club maintain it had been slated in previously due to the break in the draw.
Penrith players trained on Tuesday after their day off on Monday, but veteran Trent Merrin said they wouldn’t be distracted by the matter.
“To be honest it’s the first I’ve heard of it,” he said.
“As a group, we know what we have to do and the standard we have for ourselves. It’s about us getting back to that standard.
“We’re in the top four, so he has done a really good job here. I can’t see things changing at all.
“It’s not our voices here that are making these allegations. We’re a solid unit in these walls and that’s the way it’s going to be.”
Regardless, it is the second time this year Penrith players have had to endure such speculation, after talk about Griffin’s future dominated the pre-season despite him re-signing last year until 2020.
However they won 10 of their first 13 games to sit first atop of the ladder, before dropping their last matches through the State of Origin period to sit fourth.
They also face a difficult fortnight without their Origin halves pairing of James Maloney and Nathan Cleary against the Warriors this Friday, before they play Cronulla two days after the dead rubber.
They’ll call upon young halves Tyrone May and Jarome Luai in that period, before their Origin stars and injured duo Josh Mansour and Reagan Campbell-Gillard return for the run home to the finals.
But Merrin said they needed to get the results on the board for not just their top four hopes, but to ease the heat on Griffin.
“That’s why we need to keep winning,” he said.
“It started at the start of the season and we knocked that on the head straight away.
“We always have and always will (stand by him). He’s our coach. It’s all outside noise, we know what we’ve got inside these walls here.
“Anyone else who buys into the outside noise aren’t amongst the playing group. We know what’s going on and where we’re headed.”