The Panthers will turn to a crop of boom youngsters as they look to defend their VB NSW Cup crown in 2015.

Victorious 48-12 against Newcastle Knights in the title decider, Penrith have since lost skipper Kevin Kingston to retirement while experienced playmaker Tom Humble is among a host of senior players to move on to new clubs.

For coach Garth Brennan, who returns to the helm in 2015, the challenge is exciting rather than a daunting one.

“I am excited about it because we’ve been talking up our young guys coming through for the last couple of years,” said Brennan.

“We probably have lost a fair bit of experience but we have some super talent coming through from the 20s and even SG Ball who should play VB Cup this season.”

Australian Schoolboys prop Oliver Clark and centre Robert Jennings fit into that category along with the likes of back-rower James Fisher-Harris.

Robert is the younger brother of Roosters and former Panthers Test star Michael Jennings while another brother George is also hoping for a big year with Penrith after he was injured in the 2014 Auckland Nines.

“Robert’s been training with the NRL squad and if he’s not required there then he’ll probably find himself back with us in round one,” said Brennan.

“The young fellas from SG Ball have really stepped up in the off-season. While they are going to have to bide their time as players come back from NRL to VB NSW Cup, with injuries and everything else we will need them throughout the year.”

The horror injury rate among the Panthers' NRL squad in 2014 meant the VB NSW Cup squad was repeatedly called upon to provide fit troops.

Brennan has his fingers crossed that there’s no repeat this season meaning their VB NSW Cup squad could see the likes of Kiwi Test playmaker Isaac John and utility back Will Smith calling the shots throughout the year.

In a boost to their depth Brennan has brought New South Wales Residents halfback Adrian Davis to the club. Brennan coached him in the NYC with Newcastle while Davis spent the past season in the Queensland Cup with Redcliffe.

 

GAINS: Reece Goldsmith (Mounties), Tupou Sopoaga (Sharks), Brendan Attwood (Panthers U20s), Jarrod Brackenhofer (Panthers U20s), Logan Geyer (Panthers U20s), Josh Tangitau (Panthers U20s), Antonio Pelesasa (Panthers U20s), Adrian Davis (Redcliffe).

LOSSES: Ryan Simpkins (Gold Coast Titans), Kevin Kingston (retired), Eto Nabuli (Dragons), Wes Naiqama (London Broncos), Luke Capewell (Redcliffe), Tom Humble (Townsville & Districts Blackhawks), Vaipuna Tia Kilifi (Northern Pride), Matt Robinson (Gold Coast Titans), Anthony Cherrington (Redcliffe).

 

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