"Dawn Fraser, butt out" - Panthers

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott will decide who will captain his side before the start of the season ? and the choice will not be influenced by outside pressure, Panthers CEO Glenn Matthews said today.

He was responding to a statement by former swimming great Dawn Fraser that Craig Gower was not worthy of regaining the captaincy, stripped from him as a result of behaviour at a charity golf tournament in December 2005.

?Dawn Fraser is entitled to her opinion," Matthews said today. ?But she of all people should realise that athletes can make mistakes. She?s made a few in her time. The captaincy of Penrith is none of her business and it?s time she got her nose out of it.

?Craig Gower is a great leader,? Matthews said. ?You only have to come to training to see how he trains and how he leads by example to realise that.

?Matt Elliott will make a decision on who will be captain before the start of the season. His decision will be based on what is best for our team and for our club ? not on outside pressure.

?Craig not only lost the captaincy as a result of what happened,? Matthews said, ?he was also fined $30,000 and put on a $70,000 good behaviour bond by the club.?

In the last 12 months alone, Gower had taken part in around 40 different community functions. ?One of them was a golf day for a terminally ill woman in the Blue Mountains. Craig gladly took part and introduced himself to the woman. It made her day.

?As well, a testimonial dinner in Craig?s name raised over $100,000 for Panthers on the Prowl, our community development foundation.

?Craig has always been involved and passionate about our community and these are just some examples of that commitment.

?He made a mistake a year ago and some people just don?t want to let him forget it. It?s time to move on.?