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Panthers NRL recruits to shine: Kingston
James MacSmith
19:05 AEST Wed Feb 6 2013

Penrith captain Kevin Kingston says his new team of largely unheralded and unproven players can become the next generation of Panthers stars as coach Ivan Cleary and football manager Phil Gould attempt to rebuild the club from the ground up.

Much has been made of the Panthers' loss of homegrown stars Luke Lewis, Michael Jennings and Michael Gordon in the lead up to the NRL season. But the Panthers have been the most active club in the recruitment market as they seek a new era at the foot of the mountains.

And Kingston said Panthers fans soon will be embracing the feats of the likes of acquisitions such as Dean Whare, Sika Manu and Wes Naiqama.

"When you look around at some of the players we have here and the things they are doing at training, they really do have the ability to help turn the club around," Kingston told AAP on Wednesday.

"I think guys like Dean Whare, Sika Manu, Wes Naiqama ... these are the players that will take this club forward. They have so much to offer.

"We have had some tough times at the club, but we have put that behind us now. We have done what we had to do and we are all looking forward to the season ahead and bringing some success back here."

James Segeyaro, Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore, James Roberts, Mose Masoe, Moses Pangai and Tom Humble are among the other signings the club will lean on as they attempt to become a premiership force again.

"There are so many new players it seems like a new team, we have such a fresh approach to everything and that is coming out in everything we are doing," Kingston said.

"All the new guys have fit in really well. There is a real confidence and harmony in what we are doing.

"Even though Ivan was here last year, it really does feel like a fresh start."

Kingston assumed the captaincy from Lewis in controversial circumstances during the 2012 season, with Cleary telling him there were no guarantees moving forward.

Cleary left the appointment up in the air until he called Kingston into his office before Christmas to hand him the captaincy, a decision only announced publicly last week.

"I couldn't accept it quickly enough," Kingston said.

"It's such an honour and I think we have all learned a lot from what happened last year. It's hard work but it is something I really enjoy.

"We know it is going to be a tough year. But we will be ready and, if we get into the eight, I will have done my job."


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