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Mark Geyer Reckons Current Panthers
Are Better Than His Era
Mark Geyer says the current Penrith team would beat the club's 1991 premiership-winning side, of which he was a part.
"It would be a close game, but I think they would win," he said.
"They are a much better attacking team than we were ... we tended to rely a lot on Brandy (Greg Alexander) for our attack.
"They have five or six players who can turn the game at the drop of a hat."
Geyer stresses he is "not selling our team short", but says a premiership win this season is a distinct possibility.
"For sure I think they can win it," he said.
"If you'd suggested that to me in March I would have said you were crazy but the only people's expectations that they haven't exceeded have been their own."
Such remarks show the esteem in which the current Panthers squad is held, not just in the area but around the National Rugby League.
A win over Parramatta on Sunday will cement only the second minor premiership in the club's history.
The only other time was in 1991, the same year the Panthers scored a 19-12 win over Canberra in the grand final.
Geyer says the best thing about watching them this season has been the local juniors brought into first grade.
"It's been exciting watching them grow as a team," he said.
"It's always good to have superstars in your team but they seem to have the perfect blend."
In 1991, Penrith had four Kangaroos in Alexander, Brad Fittler, Geyer and John Cartwright.
The current team don't have as many players at that level, but Geyer cites people like Scott Sattler as keys to their success.
"Scott Sattler's been their linchpin, he's played something like a Royce Simmons role in terms of organising things," he said.
Simmons himself - now Tim Sheens' assistant coach at the Wests Tigers - said there were quality players all over the park.
"They are very hard to close down, they have the best strike power all over the field," he said.
"They've got a hooker that dominates the ruck in Luke Priddis, one of the best halfbacks in the game with the kicking game to go with it in (Craig) Gower.
"Then a no-nonsense front row and two of the best potential wingers in the game in the two Lukes (Lewis and Rooney)."
Geyer and Simmons agree that Penrith has been blessed by a relatively unblemished run with injuries.
"They've had no major injuries, but in the past guys like Rhys Wesser and Tony Puletua have had their past three seasons interrupted," Geyer said.
Penrith's only slight injury worry is with former international centre Ryan Girdler, who will miss this weekend's clash with the Eels because of a sternum injury.
Other than that, they appear to be ready for a daunting finals draw, which could see them meeting heavyweights Brisbane and the Roosters in the first two weeks.
Coach John Lang is unconcerned.
"We're stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea really, it's either Brisbane or Newcastle (in the first week)," he chuckled.
Geyer admitted the probable draw was tough, but said the big teams would have to be played sometime in the finals.
"There's no way I'd want to play Brisbane in the first final, but having said that, you have to play them sometime so why not now?" he said.