Panthers can soar like Sea Eagles: Kite

Penrith recruit Brent Kite believes there are similarities between the new-look Penrith side and the Manly team he joined in 2005.

Kite, one of seven key signings at the foot of the mountains for this year, believes they have built the same foundation that launched Manly back into reckoning as one of the competition's powerhouses.

The Sea Eagles haven't missed the finals since Kite signed with the club in 2005, and while Penrith are at the early stage of development, the 32-year-old believes the Panthers are building well.

"We were probably one of the older teams in the end there with a few young blokes coming through at Manly," Kite said. "It's probably the opposite of that here in Penrith with just a few old blokes, but it reminds me of when I first got to Manly.

"There was a fair bit of potential there but it still needed plenty of hard work and the right guidance and coaching to help it come along. There are some definite similarities there. If we could have similar success in the short term that would be great."

In the past two years, coach Ivan Cleary and general manager Phil Gould have recruited enough players to field a strong NRL side.

The 17 new faces with NRL experience who have joined the club since the start of last year include representative players such as Kite, Jamie Soward, Lewis Brown, James Segeyaro, Sika Manu, Jamal Idris, Peter Wallace and Elijah Taylor. But it's the signing of playmakers Soward and Wallace which Kite insists will be most beneficial to the Panthers.

"There's a fair changeover that's for sure, but I think they've done well, especially around the halves," he said. "That was probably the one area they were lacking a bit of experience but you get that in Soward and Wallace.

"There are some young kids here that could be anything. Then you have some rep players like Sammy McKendry and Tim Grant, who are established in the front row. I think they have got a real good mix and these halves will really bring it all together."

Since last year, 26 players with first-grade experience have either signed with another club or retired. That list includes Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon, Lachlan Coote and Luke Walsh.

Among the most exciting of the 17 new signings in the past two seasons is that of the pocket rocket from North Queensland, Segeyaro.

Five-eighth Jamie Soward believes the hooker has the potential to develop into one of the game's best players.

"'Chicko' will be a superstar for the next 10 years in the game," Soward said. "But he understands that he's still learning as well. He had the setback with his pectoral injury, but under the knowledge of Kevvie Kingston, myself and Peter Wallace, he's going to develop enormously. One thing I like about Chicko is ... you don't have to tell him things twice."

PENRITH'S RECRUITS SINCE 2013

What the Panthers would look like if they fielded their recruits from the past two seasons.

1 Wes Naiqama

2 James Roberts

3 Jamal Idris

4 Dean Whare

5 Kevin Naiqama

6 Jamie Soward

7 Peter Wallace

8 Brent Kite

9 James Segeyaro

10 Jeremy Latimore

11 Lewis Brown

12 Sika Manu

13 Elijah Taylor

14 Tyrone Peachey

15 Luke Capewell

16 Tom Humble

17 Shaun Spence

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