The Panthers have responded after star half Jarome Luai took a subtle jab at coach Ivan Cleary after he claimed rival clubs would be taking a “risk” signing him as a chief playmaker.
Penrith powerbrokers have tabled a two-year extension worth $1.7 million to extend his stay at the foot of the mountain.
However, he hit the open market on November 1 and will field offers from clubs worth north of $1 million-per-season, potentially to become a central playmaker for the respective teams.
On Thursday, Luai took to Instagram, posting an anime-styled image of himself with the caption ‘Know Your Worth’.
He also accompanied the post with 50 Cent’s Hustler’s Ambition, which is the lead single to the famous rapper’s 2005 feature film Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.
Panthers football CEO Matt Cameron was aware of the post when approached by the Daily Telegraph.
“I’ve seen it, we haven’t engaged with Jarome about it,” Cameron said.
“The coach has been away, he was back the day before yesterday. I think the coach had been in touch with him. We had a meeting with him three weeks ago, and all parties were very transparent. Ivan’s comments yesterday, they were things we have been talking about.
“The post is what the post is … I don’t live in a social media world. We’ll engage with Jarome and continue that conversation.”
Luai has forged a hugely successful halves partnership with Nathan Cleary and the pair have lifted the trophy over the past three seasons.
However, Cleary believes his five-eighth “belongs” at the Panthers but did admit the offers potentially being tabled would be difficult to turn down.
“But there’s no doubt if the offers we are hearing … the thing is before today, they’re just maybes,” Cleary said earlier this week.
“I guess once they’re actually concrete offers he can sort of understand more about the decisions to be made, so see how that goes.”
Sparking the to shot from Luai was Cleary’s claims that Luai hasn’t been a central playmaker in the past, but would need to take up that role if signed on a mulit-million dollar deal.
“Is he ready for that? That’s a question mark I would think,” Cleary said.
“Can he do it? I’m sure he could do it. Has he done it? He hasn’t really. In this team he has his role to play. That’s a risk everyone would have to take.”
However, Cleary also made it abundantly clear Panthers powerbrokers want him to remain with the club who have tabled their best possible offer.
“Everyone is always looking for high-quality halves and he’s definitely one of those,” Cleary said.
“But he knows where we’re at, so it’s just a matter of him getting what’s out there, checking it out and coming back and then we’ll see what happens after that.
“It’s hard to say exactly what we would do or we wouldn’t do. We have made it pretty clear what we can afford, but there’s something there’s always other things you can maybe do.
“We want to make it really clear we want him to stay. I’m pretty sure he wants to say that as well. But money talks, so I guess we will see.”