Pressure mounts on Titans coach Garth Brennan
GARTH Brennan could have coached his last game for Gold Coast, following the Panthers' comprehensive 24-2 win over the Titans on Friday night.
Speculation is swirling that Brennan may be sacked this week, with Mal Meninga to take over as interim coach for the remainder of 2019.
Former Penrith NSW Cup mentor Brennan has struggled to produce at the Titans with only 12 wins from 40 games since taking over in 2018.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters is in contention to replace Brennan, and St Helen's coach Justin Holbrook is also an option.
Details of the Titans' club review conducted by Meninga will be announced on Monday.
Asked about his future post-game, Brennan remained optimistic about his chances of remaining at the Titans in the long term.
"All the speculation, talk and rumours - if I listened to all of that I'd be in the foetal position under the table," Brennan said.
"But I can't control that and there are a lot more things important in life than coaching rugby league that I live for, and I've lived it.
"I had 18 years in the police and there are so many things going on around the place that take a lot more significance.
"That is no BS - that is just me telling it how it is.
"Do I want to keep my job - of course I do - but the sun will still come up tomorrow."
James Maloney backed up his Origin success with a strong performance for the Panthers' on Friday night.
The veteran playmaker produced a try assist and kicked three goals to help Penrith move into the top eight for the first time this season with a sixth straight victory.
Maloney is contracted until the end of 2020 but hasn't ruled out leaving at season's end to join the English Super League.
If he opts to take up the England option, he'll be desperate to finish his decorated NRL career on a high at Penrith with a finals appearance.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary praised Maloney for his classy effort backing up from NSW's thrilling triumph on Wednesday night.
"It's pretty amazing how rugby league players have been able to back up," Cleary said.
"There are a lot more players being rested these days, so I can't thank Jimmy enough.
"He got on the phone to me on Thursday. I think he'd had about an hour sleep and he told me, 'don't play Nathan because I'll be right to play'.
"That is what you want from your senior player and one of your best players."
The Panthers are doing their best to help Maloney go deep this season.
The Mountain men host their next two games against St George Illawarra and Canberra.
If Penrith win both games they will claim a club record eight straight victories.
Naden has a big future
Jot down the name Brent Naden in your little black book - the kid can play.
Naden - a Wellington junior from Western NSW - looked dangerous every time he touched in the ball in the centres against the Titans.
The 23-year-old agreed to a two-year contract extension prior to kick-off.
The new deal means Naden will remain with Panthers until at least the end of the 2021 season.
"It's so exciting to get an opportunity like this and to know I'll be calling Penrith home for the next few years," said Naden, who ran for over 200m against the Titans.
"Rugby league moves quickly. It wasn't too long ago I figured the ship had sailed on my chances of playing in the NRL.
"Then I had a bit of a wake-up call when my brother (Brock) came to Sydney to play footy but ended up moving back home.
"I asked myself, 'How can I expect my brother to chase his dreams if I'm not out there chasing mine?'
"Now I've been given a shot, I can't wait to get out on the field and repay Panthers for the faith they've shown in me."
Winger Brian To'o is also one to watch after he finished with a double against the Gold Coast.
Cartwright junior debuts
Another Cartwright has made his Penrith Panthers debut.
Jed Cartwright - the son of former Panther and Titans coach John - became the 588th Panthers player to don the famous black jersey.
Cartwright, a backrower who can play centre, came on five minutes into the second half to a standing ovation from the Penrith faithful.
He finished with 17 minutes on the field, including 18 run metres and 12 tackles.
PENRITH 24 (D Edwards 2 B To'o 2 tries J Maloney 4 goals) bt GOLD COAST 2 (T Roberts goal) at Panthers Stadium. Referee: Henry Perenara, Jon Stone. Crowd: 10,317