Thursday, 2 August 2012
Lachlan Coote has emerged from a recent NRL axing to become a long-term option as Penrith five-eighth with coach Ivan Cleary elated with his switch to pivot.
The timing of Coote's run at No.6 could not be better with the Panthers' regular five-eighth Travis Burns copping a 12-game ban from the judiciary.
Burns will reportedly be granted a release to the UK Super League despite having a year remaining on his contract.
But after two consecutive wins with Coote at five-eighth, the Panthers, who face Melbourne away on Saturday, look to have found their man to partner halfback Luke Walsh.
Dumped to feeder club Windsor in June for disciplinary reasons, it seemed Coote wasn't going to survive under the Panthers' new regime of general manager Phil Gould and Cleary.
There were rumours the fullback was being shopped around to rival clubs and it seemed a matter of time before the 22-year-old was cut by the Panthers.
Coote has since starred in Penrith's past two matches, against Sydney Roosters and Cronulla.
He scored two tries in the controversial 21-20 win over the Sharks last Saturday and Cleary could not be happier with the local junior.
"It's been really good. I've been quite buoyed by the way Lachlan's gone there," Cleary said.
"You'd like to think he'll only get better. He'll keep playing there ... we've got no plans to shift him at the moment.
"We'll just see how it pans out but certainly the first couple of games have been very encouraging."
Captain Kevin Kingston was another Panther who was full of praise for Coote on Thursday.
"I can't give him enough of a wrap ... he's doing such a great job," Kingston said.
"He's been through a bit of a bad time, he got his bum smacked and he came back very strong.
"The work he's done has been great ... he's been putting the hours in with video work and continues to work hard on his game."