Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie has been photographed wearing the jersey of former club Penrith while celebrating the Panthers’ grand final victory on Sunday night.
In the same week that he was named the joint Kelly-Barnes medallist alongside Luke Brooks as the Tigers’ player of the year, images have emerged of Laurie whooping up the grand final result in full Panthers regalia. The photos have angered diehard Tigers supporters, who have taken to social media to question where Laurie’s allegiances lie.
Laurie made his first-grade debut for the Panthers in round 13 of last year, making two further NRL appearances for the club before signing with the Tigers. Stuck behind the first-choice fullbacks Dylan Edwards, Charlie Staines and Stephen Crichton at the foot of the mountains, he was granted an early release to take up the No.1 jersey at the Tigers.
On a deal reportedly worth just $140,000 for 2021, Laurie was a contender for buy of the year. The 22-year-old played 19 games under Michael Maguire, scored seven tries and beat teammates Adam Doueihi, Stefano Utoikamanu and Luciano Leilua to share player-of-the-year honours.
While he has put in whole-hearted performances for the Tigers, it would appear that he still has a soft spot for the Panthers. The jersey he was photographed in, leaning out of a car with mates, is the one in which he made his NRL debut.
Tigers powerbrokers aren’t questioning his commitment, but privately concede it is a poor look.
Ironically, Laurie didn’t appear to have torn allegiances about the grand final result; in an interview with the Herald in May, he revealed he grew up as a South Sydney fan.
“I used to go for the Rabbitohs when I was younger and when [Maguire] won the grand final with them, to be coached by him now, he’s so passionate about winning,” Laurie said at the time.