His emergence at Penrith played a key role in forcing Lachlan Coote out of the club but the now-North Queensland player has only praise for Panthers’ young gun Matt Moylan.
Coote will take on the Panthers for the first time since he left the club at the end of 2013 after missing all of his first NRL season with the Cowboys due to injury.
Since leaving Penrith, Coote has watched with interest as Moylan has emerged as one of the most exciting prospects in the game.
The 23-year-old has played a pivotal role in the Panthers’ rise to one of the game’s top teams and he is being suggested as a possible bolter for the NSW side in this year’s State of Origin series.
A local junior, Moylan enjoyed a breakthrough 2014 and three times won games for the Panthers with his boot, including a field goal against the Cowboys in the corresponding fixture last year.
“He’s been unreal,” Coote said.
“He had a good year last year and was on the fringe for the Australian team.
“All the best to him. He’s played some good footy and good luck to him.”
It may have taken longer than expected to return to Penrith, where Coote played 83 games in six seasons after debuting in 2008, but Coote says time hasn’t dimmed his eagerness to take on his old club.
A lot has changed since Coote headed north and the 24-year-old says he’s been pleasantly surprised to watch the transformation that’s occurred under coach Ivan Cleary.
“They’ve really come up surprisingly,” he said.
“They’ve made some good recruiting, all the young fellas that are coming up are well trained and stuff like that.
“It’s good to watch them actually win you know. Hopefully we come out and beat them but they’ve been going good.
“I’ve been waiting for this time, to play the old club, and it’s always exciting. Definitely looking forward to it.”