Penrith go into the grand final as huge $1.35 favourites to become the first club in history to win all four grades.
The Panthers have already won the SG Ball, Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup competitions this season and sit on the cusp of the first clean sweep in rugby league’s 113-year history.
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Such dominance is a change to the dynamics in rugby league’s heartland in Sydney’s west, where Parramatta had ruled the roost for several years with junior representative sides littered with future NRL players.
But the Panthers have now stolen that mantle and Luai said this when asked who held the title of big brother in the west.
“You can call us daddy,” the Panthers five-eighth told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We’re both western Sydney, but our team has been together for a long time and played a lot of footy together.
“I think we’re home-grown. We represent our people. Western Sydney is our home. Every time we put this jersey on we represent our home. We just want to compare ourselves to the best. It’s an awesome feeling when you’ve come through the grades and make your mark on the biggest stage.”
Local juniors will make up more than half the Panthers side that will run out on Sunday and 14 of the 17 made their NRL debut for the club.
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The Eels have six local juniors in their team, but only three have spent their entire NRL careers at the club.
“Things have changed,” Penrith winger Brian To’o added.
“There aren’t that many kids coming through the Parramatta system that are from the west. The majority of the people that are in the Parramatta team come from other countries or other parts of NSW … or even Penrith.
“It’s pretty cool to see how many of us Penrith juniors have come through the lower grades up to the big leagues.
“It’s pretty special to see like Taylan May and Izack Tago come through this year.”
Penrith have won 66 of 78 games over the past three years, making them arguably one of the best teams ever.
However, there’s no doubt when the Eels hear about Luai’s comments, it will provide added motivation for the final game of the NRL season.
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