The Penrith Panthers have celebrated their NRL Grand Final triumph in style, dousing themselves in champagne showers after Sunday evening’s comprehensive 28-12 victory over the Parramatta Eels.
Ivan Cleary’s men became the just the second team in the NRL era to win back-to-back titles, obliterating their cross-town rivals at Accor Stadium in front of 82,415 fans.
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And the final siren marked not only their fourth premiership, but also the end of a prolonged booze ban for several players.
The Panthers were greeted by bottles of champagne and sponsored goggles when they returned to the dressing room, with the elated footballers immediately cracking open several beers.
The coveted Provan-Summons trophy sat in the corner, with players posing for photos alongside their children and partners.
Penrith five-eighth Jarome Luai quickly brought out the boombox, pumping some tunes and enjoying a cigar.
UFC cult hero Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa, a diehard Panthers supporter, downed a trademark shoey with the team in the sheds.
Just before midnight, the Panthers walked back out onto the Accor Stadium turf to continue the celebrations, albeit with 80,000 less spectators in the stands.
Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau, who will join the Wests Tigers next season, posed for a video donning three premiership rings on his hand, copping a few cheeky sledges from his teammates.
“You don’t win them at the Tigers,” one yelled.
After the victory, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary confessed the club wouldn’t be able to replace Koroisau.
“He makes people feel good, everybody plays better when he’s out there and he’s had an incredible season,” he said.
“We won’t be able to replace him.”
Having won 67 of their last 78 NRL matches, the Panthers are already being touted as favourites to clinch next year’s premiership and become the first club to achieve the feat in 40 years.
“We just take it one day at a time,” Cleary said.
“I don’t give a s*** about next year, we’ll enjoy tonight.
“It’s been an unbelievable season for our club. It’s never been done before, four grades.
“It’s hard to put it into words other than to say how proud we all are.
“Our club is very aligned. Everybody is their own person but we are all woven together by a common thread of trying to do our best for the club.”
Speaking to Channel 9 on Monday morning, Panthers chief executive Matt Cameron confirmed the celebrations were ongoing.
“The boys come back last night had a function,” he said.
“They’re still upstairs somewhere. We’re across the road at the stadium. It’s going to be a good day.
“The community didn’t get to celebrate it the way they wanted to. Last night was a great opportunity. You have heard Ivan speak before we pride ourselves on the club being a source of community pride. I think we were able to tick that box last night.”