Another Penrith star eyes off the exit as grand final exodus continues

Zane Tetevano is eyeing off a big payday in England as Leeds Rhinos reportedly consider offering the Penrith prop a $1.5 million deal.

The Daily Telegraph reports the UK Super League club is preparing to offer the 30-year-old $500,000 a season over three years to bolster its forward stocks, which would represent a significant pay rise for the NRL journeyman, who debuted for Newcastle in 2011.

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Tetevano is contracted to the Panthers until the end of next year but there is speculation he may be allowed to leave early, which would free up salary cap space to keep other stars.

Tetevano played 19 games in 2020 — most of them off the bench, including the grand final loss to Melbourne — and was a solid contributor to the Panthers’ forward pack.

Despite the salary cap relief his departure would provide, it would also intensify the problems Penrith faces in keeping its roster together after last season’s heroics. Up-and-coming playmaker Matt Burton has inked a deal with the Bulldogs for 2022, young fullback Daine Laurie is joining the Tigers that same year while prop James Tamou is linking up with Wests next season.

Former NSW winger Josh Mansour has been told he’s no longer wanted and the Panthers will need to cough up to keep gun centre Stephen Crichton, whose asking price rose considerably after a breakout 2020.

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Zane Tetevano may leave Penrith short of options in the front row.Source:AAP

The 20-year-old is reportedly seeking a new three-year deal worth upwards of $2.2 million — well in excess of the $500,000-a-season contract he was after earlier in the year before changing management.

Crichton told the Sydney Morning Herald in November he wasn’t sure if he would still be at Penrith when his deal expires at the end of 2021.

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said earlier this month efforts to keep Penrith’s contracted stars together in the wake of the team’s run to the grand final wouldn’t harm its preparation for next season.

“That’s the main message, that they’re all here next year and it’s our job now that the ones who are nearing or coming off contract fit in the puzzle moving forward,” Fletcher told NRL.com.

“You’d like to think they’ll all be raring to go to play together again next year and see where their futures go after that.

“That’s the beauty of it, we’ve got a year to get ourselves right. We’ve got the nucleus of the side there now with the older guys who are 24-25.”

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