Panthers re-sign rising outside back Paul Alamoti on one-year deal

Panthers re-sign rising outside back Paul Alamoti on one-year deal

Penrith have strengthened their outside back stocks by re-signing Paul Alamoti on a new one-year deal.

Alamoti, who joined the three-time defending premiers from Canterbury this year, has impressed in recent weeks after making his club debut for the Panthers a fortnight ago. 

He arrived at the foot of the mountains on a one-year deal and shapes as the club’s newest reclamation project after scoring two tries in as many matches and churning through 247 metres in Penrith’s win over North Queensland on Saturday night.

Alamoti’s emergence is well-timed given first-string winger Sunia Turuva will head to Wests Tigers next season, with the 20-year-old expected to compete alongside the likes of fellow youngster Jessie McLean for the vacant spot. 

Alamoti has long been a player of considerable promise. He was first signed to Canterbury when he was just 12 years-old but was after a change following his rookie NRL campaign last season.

“I had some growing up to do, that’s why I chose to come here. I had to know what it was like in the real world and it’s opened my eyes so much,” Alamoti said.

“I had to grow up so much, and I had to tidy up some things off the field. They way they prepare here, it opened my eyes.

“It’s a lot of small things, like diet and sleep and all that but they add up — your body is a machine and you have to feed it the right things, feed it the wrong things and it’ll break down.

“I needed a change, I needed to grow and the chance to come to Penrith – it was a no-brainer.

“Coming here kind of opened my eyes, it let me do a lot of growing as a person, on and off the field.”

Alamoti played 19 matches for the Bulldogs in 2023 and showed flashes of his considerable ability through the season.

But the transition to first grade isn’t always easy, even for a former prodigy. He fought to try and find consistency and did what he could to bear the weight of considerable expectations.

For the first time in his young life, football wasn’t as easy as it had always been. It was a learning curve for the Milperra junior, one which eventually led him to Penrith.

“I was lucky I ended up here, at the best club in the league,” Alamoti said.

“Coming through the ranks you can just rock up and train and play. But now there’s so much more to it than just turning up to train and play and there’s so much more pressure to deal with.

“(At Penrith) I can be myself instead of worrying about external factors.

“There’s still pressure, there’s pressure on all of us, but there’s older guys and big name players around that make it much easier to deal with and it lets me focus on my role and what I can do.”

Alamoti is expected to be on spot duty for Penrith’s back line for the rest of the season as he continues to adapt to the club’s system.

Having strong back-ups across the squad is one of the key’s to Penrith’s success in recent years — they’ve offered depth if a starter goes down and motivation for the first-string players to stay sharp. 

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