Luai a no-show as Panthers’ final day of pre-season as tensions simmer amid Tigers switch

Jarome Luai was absent from Panthers training for a third-straight day on Wednesday as tensions between the two parties continue to simmer.

That is according to The Daily Telegraph, who are reporting the Tigers will reportedly be informed if they have acquired the five-eighth’s services by the end of the week.

Wednesday was the final day of Penrith’s pre-season training before Christmas, and Luai’s absence came after reportedly requesting time off to make his big transfer decision.

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Luai is reportedly set to sign a five-year $6 million deal to join Benji Marshall and the Tigers in 2025.

He reportedly informed his teammates the 2024 season would be his last with the Panthers on Saturday, although Panthers powerbrokers shrugged off suggestions he would be released early.

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher has an emphatic “no” when asked if the club will allow Luai to head to the Tigers a year early.

“Fletcher said ‘there’s absolutely no way we are letting Jarome Luai off his contract in 2024 to play for a rival club’ and further to that, he says Jarome wants to be at the Panthers for the final year of his contract,” Cody Kaye told Fox Sports News.

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“However, we all know rugby league is a funny business and it wouldn’t be the first time that clubs have denied the release of a player only for that player to be released.

“At this stage, as far as the Panthers are concerned, Luai isn’t going anywhere.”

Luai could also still reject the Tigers offer and re-enter free agency, with the Bulldogs still reportedly interested in his services.

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