Puletua new Panthers skipper

Kiwi international Tony Puletua has been appointed Penrith skipper for the 2006 NRL season following the sacking of former captain Craig Gower earlier this month.

Puletua's elevation to the captaincy was announced by Penrith general manager Michael Leary and coach John Lang today. Gower was stripped of the leadership role just over a week ago following a series of alcohol-fuelled incidents on the Sunshine Coast in late December.

Puletua, who made his first grade debut for Panthers in 1997, is contracted to the club until the end of the 2009 season.