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Panthers coach stands by his axing of key trio

Matt Moylan of the Penrith Panthers gets a pass away.
Matt Moylan of the Penrith Panthers gets a pass away. DAN PELED

PENRITH coach Anthony Griffin has given no guarantees that a trio of stars dropped for breaking a club curfew following last week's away defeat to Melbourne will return next week.

Skipper Matt Moylan, Peta Hiku and Waqa Blake were all axed for tonight's clash with South Sydney.

The trio will instead take on Newcastle in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW in St Marys, with Griffin refusing to confirm the length of the punishment.

"I can't tell you that," he said.

"Only the players can tell you that, the ones that play Friday night and the three guys that have gone back to NSW Cup."

Griffin stood by his decision to drop the three players, despite the fact that if they lose at Pepper Stadium, the Panthers will drop out of the top eight.

"I made the decision for what's best for the club," he said.

"It's not a major issue as far as breaking laws or anything. But it's something that we take seriously within our own club. The boys have reacted very well.

"They understood the reasons and to their credit they didn't play the victim.

"They understood that the decision they made wasn't the right thing by the team. That's the main thing.

"They trained very well with NSW Cup - I went to training last night - that's what they need to do."

Former Brisbane coach Griffin said he had not thought about taking the captaincy off Moylan, who will be replaced as skipper tonight by veteran Peter Wallace.

"If Matt wants to be captain of this club, I'm not going to stop him doing that," he said.

"Maybe one day we'll look back and see this as a point that it helped him assume that authority."

Topics:  anthony griffin matt moylan nrl penrith panthers

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