General Puletua likely Panthers captain

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warriors4life_old

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From nzherald.co.nz

Kiwis forward Tony Puletua is a likely candidate to captain NRL club Penrith should Craig Gower be dumped this week.

Gower will face Penrith's board tomorrow after his drunken behaviour at the Jack Newton celebrity golf tournament on the Sunshine Coast two weeks ago.

Gower wants to keep the captaincy, but the revelations of his actions, which include an allegation he groped the 17-year-old daughter of league great Wayne Pearce, have sparked speculation that Penrith will look elsewhere for a leader this season.

Puletua said that while he would be disappointed for Gower, he would take up the captaincy if offered.

"It would be awesome to lead the Panthers," he said. "But I haven't even spoken to Craig about it and I would like to before I say too much.

"For me, it's disappointing because Craig is such an awesome leader on the field. If you put aside what happened he is still a great player. If he does lose [the captaincy] I'm sure he will be able to move on. He will still be a leader on the field and it won't affect the way he plays."

Puletua will be one of the frontrunners to replace Gower, with hooker Luke Priddis. The Kiwi forward has signed with Penrith until 2009 and is a popular figure at the club.

"I do a lot of the off-field stuff," Puletua said. "Gower leads on the field and I lead off the field, that's the system we have here.

"We have a lot of young Islanders and they look up to me, so I have to be a role model."

Puletua missed most of last season because of a torn pectoral muscle, but has regained fitness and is looking for a big year.

Gower was seen drunk on television during the tournament and, apart from the incident involving daughter Tatum Pearce, was said to have threatened Pearce's son Mitchell.

He is also said to have held dinner knives to the throats of some guests.

Last week he issued a one-paragraph apology to the Pearce family.

The Penrith board met on Friday to discuss a report compiled by football manager Mick Leary into Gower's behaviour. They decided Gower had a case to answer. He is likely to be fined, stripped of the captaincy or both.
 

warriors4life_old

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hopefully the added responsibility of being the captain will not affect his play
 

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