16 October 2023

On the long weekend, the mighty mountain men the Penrith Panthers did what many believed couldn't be done. They won their third straight NRL grand final. They didn't just repeat their success; they did the three-peat and proved themselves to be the undisputed champions of the game. It'll go down in history as one of the greatest games of rugby league, with the Panthers coming back from a 16-point deficit to defeat the Brisbane Broncos 26 to 24. Congratulations to co-captains Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo and the entire club for this incredible achievement.

I want to single out one player, Mitch Kenny, for his role in the victory, scoring the opening points in the game —his first try of the season. A favourite of many Panthers fans, Mitch was raised in the Hawkesbury in my electorate and played junior footy with the Windsor Wolves before signing with Penrith in a deal that saw him work as a greenkeeper for the club. His hard work, consistency and passion for the game has taken him from mowing the footy fields to winning grand finals on them. Only recently I presented awards at the junior players celebration for the Windsor Wolves, and I loved seeing their young faces and their excitement about the game: boys and girls celebrating their achievements. Thank you, Wolves, for your part in developing not just the stars that Penrith have now but also the stars of the future.