Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Jasper Bruce

Penrith can keep both Edwards and Luai: Ivan Cleary

Penrith are confident of holding on to Dylan Edwards (l) and Jarome Luai (r) beyond 2024. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Coach Ivan Cleary doesn't foresee any challenges in retaining both Dylan Edwards and Jarome Luai beyond 2024 as rival clubs once again look to capitalise on Penrith's premiership success.

Edwards' four-try masterclass against Manly last week strengthened his representative credentials and potential to earn a pay-rise on the open market.

In career-best form, the fullback comes off contract at the end of next season, the same time as State of Origin five-eighth Jarome Luai.

Both can negotiate with other NRL clubs from November 1, leaving Penrith to prepare for another balancing act at the contract table.

Penrith have resigned themselves to losing talent every season, with Viliame Kikau, Api Koroisau, Matt Burton and Kurt Capewell all earning increases for bringing premiership experience to rival clubs.

Stephen Crichton and Spencer Leniu will do the same at the end of this season.

"It still hurts," Cleary said, "when you think of guys leaving and guys about to leave."

Penrith have yet to open formal contract discussions with Edwards or Luai but asked how confident he was of Penrith's ability to keep the pair, Cleary did not need to think hard.

"Very," the coach said.

"Those two guys are integral parts of our team, have been for a long time.

"I'd certainly like to think that they would be moving forward."

The Panthers have managed to tie Isaah Yeo, Nathan Cleary, Brian To'o, James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota to long-term deals, capitalising on their long-standing bonds as Penrith juniors and connection to the club's winning culture.

"The guys that have stayed, that's definitely been a part of the reason," Cleary said.

"They all value the camaraderie and the team that we have here, their families are settled and that kind of thing. That all comes into it."

Edwards has long been a favourite of Cleary's and while the coach conceded he could bank a bigger pay-cheque with a rival he can't fathom the fullback leaving.

"I don't see him in any jersey other than a Panthers one," he said.

"He suits us really well. We're obviously going to do our best to keep him."

James Tedesco's status as NSW State of Origin and Australian captain has so far prevented Edwards from playing representative football while teammates Luai, Cleary, To'o, Yeo and Liam Martin have all become Origin staples.

The fullback shied away from questions about his NSW credentials after last week's win, but Cleary believes higher honours are awaiting Edwards.

"Something like that is going to happen for him one day, I reckon, if he just keeps on being who he is and playing the way he does each week," he said.

"He could definitely handle that level.

"His game would be perfectly suited to it. He's behind a pretty good one (Tedesco) there."

Martin could return from a four-week injury lay-off against Newcastle on Saturday, having been named in the reserves on Tuesday.

"He was a chance for the last two weeks," Cleary said.

"He's just got to tick some boxes."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.