Penrith Panthers release six players, three become free agents

Six players have departed the Penrith Panthers following the climax of the 2020 NRL season.

Three of those released have joined other NRL clubs, while the other three become free agents.

James Tamou has signed for Wests Tigers, Jack Hetherington with the Canterbury Bulldogs and Caleb Aekins will link up with Canberra Raiders for the 2021 season.

Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Pat Hollis and Brayden McGrady are all on the market after failing to earn a new deal with the NRL Grand Finalists.

Watene-Zelezniak, 29, is the older brother of New Zealand captain Dallin and has played 31 first grade games in the NRL, predominantly on the wing.

Hollis, 27, is a second-rower and has played a handful of NRL games over two separate spells at the Panthers.

Meanwhile, McGrady, 23, is a promising centre who impressed during the 2019 season after coming through the ranks at Gold Coast.

“This has been an extraordinary season for Panthers and each one of these players contributed to that success,” said Panthers General Manager Matt Cameron.

“From the leadership of James Tamou, to the on-field exploits of Jack, Caleb and Malakai, and the enthusiasm of Pat and Brayden at training, we are grateful for their contributions to our club.

“Regardless of whether they were in the team each week, they sacrificed their personal freedoms to live in our NRL bubble for the best part of six months.

“We thank them for their service to Panthers and wish them all the best with their future endeavours.”

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