Penrith have lured a second representative forward in as many years after announcing the signing of Kangaroos prop James Tamou until the end of the 2020 NRL season.
Less than a week after Tamou told his premiership-winning teammates at North Queensland that he would be departing Townsville at the end of the year, the Panthers confirmed they had landed the NSW star.
“Penrith Panthers are delighted to confirm James Tamou has decided to join the club on a four-year deal commencing in 2017,” the club said in a statement.
Tamou’s arrival next season will come just a year after former Blues representative Trent Merrin also shifted base to the foot of the mountains, and bolsters a now-formidable forward pack.
Ex-South Sydney forward Chris Grevsmuhl moved to Penrith just last month, while the Panthers also boast young talents Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Bryce Cartwright, James Fisher-Harris and Tyrone Peachey.
However the club remains without a recognised hooker for next season, with axed No.9 James Segeyaro told he won’t be offered a new contract and current rake Peter Wallace also without a deal.
Wallace, who was replaced as captain by Matt Moylan over the summer, is understood to be close to re-signing with the Panthers on a one-year deal.
The 27-year-old Tamou, who is currently in camp with the Blues preparing for Wednesday’s must-win State of Origin clash in Brisbane, believes Penrith are on the cusp of winning a premiership.
“Where I can win another comp, that’s what I base my decision on,” Tamou told Fairfax Media.
“After getting the first one last year, you just want more of that feeling. I want another one. Penrith mate, they are definitely on the up.
“A big forward pack, good backs. Obviously a few of their players are here as well as Carty (Bryce Cartwright) coming in. My decision is based on where I can win another premiership.”
Tamou has played 158 games since making his debut with the Cowboys in 2009, represented NSW 12 times, and appeared in 12 Tests for Australia.