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Lewis farewells fans, boots'n'all

Date

Adrian Proszenko

Penrith 36 Gold Coast 22

Hard at work ... Penrith captain Kevin Kingston takes on the Gold Coast defence.

Hard at work ... Penrith captain Kevin Kingston takes on the Gold Coast defence. Photo: Domino Postiglione

LUKE LEWIS packed his boots. Just in case. Lewis didn't play at Centrebet Stadium yesterday. However, he put in a solid 80-minute performance after the game was decided, shaking hands with the majority of the 7297 fans who stayed behind for his lap of honour.

MATCH STATS

''Mixed emotions, really,'' Lewis said as he farewelled his followers. ''I had my bag packed in the car, just in case something happened and I needed to play. I knew it wasn't going to be possible. I didn't want this day to come, to tell you the truth.''

The club's favourite son controversially had the ''c'' stripped from his name, which was put in perspective when he was diagnosed with another c-word - thyroid cancer.

Seemingly, the Panthers had so much less than the Gold Coast to play for. The Titans needed a win to stay alive in the finals race, the Panthers couldn't do much more than avoid the spoon.

But you only had to ask Kevin Kingston, the man who replaced Lewis as captain, what Lewis meant to the club to understand their motivation.

''Very special. He spoke to us during the week and you could see the passion in his eyes,'' Kingston said. ''He really wanted to play the back end of the season, especially in front of his home crowd.

''He's a legend at Penrith. Nothing is going to change that. We drew energy from that, seeing the passion in his eyes. You could see that in our defence today.''

It's not every day a man who doesn't even take the field becomes the story. But this isn't your average yarn. He may be shifting to the Shire but Luke Lewis is Penrith. He has played all his footy at the foot of the mountains.

In that time, he has won a premiership and represented state and country. Yet it was hard to pick out just one best memory.

''All the players I've got to play with,'' he said. ''All the people I've got to meet. I have a lot of memories from this great field.''

As is his way, he didn't want to make a fuss about his health scare. But the rumours - some suggesting he was feigning injury - finally prompted him to come clean.

''Didn't want anyone to make a fuss,'' he said. ''Little rumours coming out, I just wanted to knock them on the head.

''It's been quite an amazing response from the fans. I am very stoked that I got to stay back and say thanks.''

It was also a long farewell lap for Michael Gordon and Travis Burns, who will also move on next year. Gordon will follow Lewis to Cronulla after eight years with the Panthers.

''Probably when the season is over, I'll be able to look back and appreciate it a bit more,'' Gordon said. ''I've only got good memories.''

Lewis will probably pack his Panthers kit one last time.

''I am trying to organise going to Brisbane next week to see the boys,'' he said.

PENRITH 36 (B Tighe 3 M Jennings 2 J Mansour tries L Walsh 6 goals) bt GOLD COAST 22 (D Mead M Minichiello S Prince W Zillman tries S Prince 3 goals) at Centrebet Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Steve Lyons. Crowd: 7,297

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PAR vs BRI 20:05Pirtek
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN vs CBY 20:05BO
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CBR vs PEN 15:00GIO
WST vs NZW 17:30CSS
NQL vs CRO 19:301300
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SYD vs SOU 16:00AS
GCT vs NEW 18:30Cbus
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CBR vs SYD 15:00GIO
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CBR vs WST 17:30GIO
NQL vs PAR 19:301300
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CRO vs PEN 16:00Shark Park
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NEW vs MAN 14:00HS
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Thu, 28 AprTimes shown AEST
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PEN vs CBR 15:00Carrington Park
SYD vs NEW 17:30CCS
MAN vs NQL 19:30BO
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 12:00MSS
GCT vs MEL 14:00Cbus
CRO vs BRI 16:00Shark Park
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PEN vs NZW 15:00AMI Stadium
MEL vs NQL 17:30SUN
MAN vs BRI 19:30SUN
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NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
WST vs CBY 16:00ANZ
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GCT vs SYD 19:00Cbus
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SOU vs STG 19:50ANZ
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
NQL vs BRI 19:501300
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
NZW vs CBR 17:30Yarrow Stadium
CRO vs MAN 19:30Shark Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs GCT 14:00Pepp
CBY vs SYD 16:00ANZ
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PAR vs MEL 19:00Pirtek
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BRI vs WST 19:50SUN
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STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
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CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO
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NEW vs PAR 19:00HS
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CBR vs MAN 19:50GIO
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NZW vs BRI 15:00MSS
NQL vs NEW 17:301300
MEL vs PEN 19:30AAMI
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SYD vs WST 16:00AS
SOU vs GCT 18:30nib Stadium
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CBY vs CRO 19:00ANZ
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BRI vs CBR 19:50SUN
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:50ANZ
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs NZW 15:00HS
PAR vs GCT 17:30TIO
SYD vs MEL 19:30AS
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MAN vs PEN 16:00BO
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBY 16:00ANZ
CRO vs NQL 19:00Shark Park
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GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus
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NEW vs STG 15:00HS
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CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
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GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus
MEL vs WST 16:00AAMI
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WST vs PEN 17:30ANZ
CRO vs PAR 19:30Shark Park
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CBR vs NEW 14:00GIO
SOU vs NQL 16:00Barlow Park
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MAN vs STG 19:00BO
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Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs SYD 19:50Pirtek
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CBY vs WST 19:30ANZ
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PEN vs CRO 16:00Pepp
Mon, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 19:00GIO
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STG vs GCT 19:50Jubilee Oval
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
SOU vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NEW vs MEL 14:00HS
PEN vs PAR 16:00Pepp
Mon, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CRO 19:00AS
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Round 20
Thu, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBY 19:501300
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs PEN 19:50SUN
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NZW 15:00GIO
GCT vs PAR 17:30Cbus
MEL vs SYD 19:30AAMI
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CRO vs NEW 14:00Shark Park
STG vs WST 16:00ANZ
Mon, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
SOU vs MAN 19:00ANZ
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Round 21
Wed, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PEN 22:00MSS
Thu, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
CBY vs STG 00:00ANZ
GCT vs CRO 00:00Cbus
PAR vs WST 00:00ANZ
SOU vs CBR 00:00ANZ
MAN vs NEW 00:00BO
NQL vs MEL 00:001300
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Round 22
Thu, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs BRI 00:00WIN
PAR vs MAN 00:00Pirtek
CRO vs CBR 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
MEL vs SOU 00:00AAMI
GCT vs NZW 00:00Cbus
WST vs NQL 00:00VAS
PEN vs SYD 00:00Pepp
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Round 23
Wed, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SOU 22:00MSS
Thu, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MAN 00:00ANZ
BRI vs PAR 00:00SUN
WST vs GCT 00:00CSS
STG vs CRO 00:00Jubilee Oval
NEW vs PEN 00:00HS
SYD vs NQL 00:00AS
CBR vs MEL 00:00GIO
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Round 24
Thu, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
SYD vs STG 00:00AS
NEW vs GCT 00:00HS
NQL vs NZW 00:001300
MAN vs MEL 00:00BO
CBR vs PAR 00:00GIO
PEN vs WST 00:00Pepp
SOU vs CRO 00:00ANZ
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Round 25
Wed, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs WST 22:00MSS
Thu, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs NQL 00:00Belmore Sports Ground
MEL vs BRI 00:00AAMI
GCT vs PEN 00:00Cbus
MAN vs CBR 00:00BO
CRO vs SYD 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs SOU 00:00HS
PAR vs STG 00:00Pirtek
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Round 26
Wed, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PAR 22:00MSS
Thu, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 00:00SUN
CBY vs SOU 00:00ANZ
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
NQL vs GCT 00:001300
MEL vs CRO 00:00AAMI
WST vs CBR 00:00VAS
PEN vs MAN 00:00Pepp
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