Home Australia ‘It’s opened my eyes a lot’: Panthers re-sign Paul Alamoti to one-year deal

‘It’s opened my eyes a lot’: Panthers re-sign Paul Alamoti to one-year deal

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'It's opened my eyes a lot': Panthers re-sign Paul Alamoti to one-year deal

Penrith have strengthened their outside stock by re-signing Paul Alamoti to a new one-year deal.

Alamoti, who joined Canterbury’s first three defenders this year, has impressed in recent weeks after making his club debut for the Panthers a fortnight ago.

He arrived at the foothills on a one-year deal and is shaping up to be the club’s newest turnaround project after scoring two tries in as many games and going 247 meters in Penrith’s win over North Queensland on Saturday night .

Alamoti’s emergence is timely given that starting winger Sunia Turuva will head to Wests Tigers next season, with the 20-year-old expected to compete alongside the likes of fellow youngster Jessie McLean for the vacant spot.

Alamoti has long been a very promising player. He first signed with Canterbury when he was just 12, but was looking for a move following his rookie NRL campaign last season.

“I had to grow up, that’s why I chose to come here. I had to know what the real world was like and that opened my eyes a lot,” Alamoti said.

“I had to grow a lot and I had to sort out some things off the field. The way they prepare here opened my eyes.

“It’s a lot of little things, like diet and sleep and all that, but it adds up: your body is a machine and you have to feed it the right things, feed it the wrong things and it will break down.

“I needed a change, I needed to grow and the opportunity to come to Penrith, it was a no-brainer.

“Coming here opened my eyes, it allowed me to grow a lot as a person, on and off the field.”

Alamoti played 19 games for the Bulldogs in 2023 and showed flashes of his considerable ability throughout the season.

But the transition to first grade isn’t always easy, even for a former prodigy. He struggled for coherence and did what he could to bear the weight of considerable expectations.

For the first time in his young life, football was not as easy as always. It was a learning curve for the young Milperra, which eventually led him to Penrith.

“I was lucky to end up here, at the best club in the league,” Alamoti said.

“Coming up through the ranks, you can just move up, train and play. But now there’s a lot more to it than just training and playing and there’s a lot more pressure to deal with.

“(At Penrith) I can be myself instead of worrying about external factors.

“There is still pressure, there is pressure on all of us, but there are older lads and big-name players around which makes it a lot easier to deal with and allows me to focus on my role and what I can do.”

Alamoti is expected to guard Penrith’s defensive line for the remainder of the season as he continues to adapt to the club’s system.

Having strong backups throughout the team is one of the keys to Penrith’s success in recent years – they have offered depth if a starter falters and motivation for front-row players to stay on their toes.

Versatility is prized on the Panthers and Alamoti is starting to develop it: He played left center against the Tigers two weeks ago before switching to right wing against the Cowboys.

He’s just one of many assets Panthers coach Ivan Cleary and his new teammates are looking to add to his game.

“(Ivan) uses this quote: Music is not the sound of the music, it is the rhythm within it. Everyone watches the big plays, but he wanted me to perfect the little things, like the speed of the ball. line, the awareness of the game, knowing where to be and where not to be. It’s profound, but it opened my eyes,” Alamoti said.

“There are little things you can learn from each player, for your game and your lifestyle. You never know something you’ll be able to use.

“You don’t have to look too far either, you see how Nathan (Cleary) prepares and you understand why he’s been so good over the last five years.”

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