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NRL: How Phil Gould made Jamal Idris a Penrith Panther

Penrith Panthers recruit Jamal Idris has made an off-season switch from the Gold Coast Titans.

Penrith Panthers recruit Jamal Idris has made an off-season switch from the Gold Coast Titans. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Soward: New halves have nothing to prove at Panthers

Jamal Idris was always going to come back to Sydney to be closer to his sick mother, but it was Phil Gould who convinced him that Penrith would be the right fit.

While Idris was reluctant to discuss the condition of his ill mother, he insists his defection from the Gold Coast was purely based on his desire to be closer to his mum, and he has since moved into her Regents Park home.

New Penrith Panthers recruit Jamal Idris is all smiles at Centrebet Stadium on Monday.

New Penrith Panthers recruit Jamal Idris is all smiles at Centrebet Stadium on Monday. Photo: Wolter Peeters

''I don't want to get into it because it's private,'' he said. ''But it's hard being up there by yourself. My mum has been sick. I hear a lot of stories about guys being away from home when their parents pass. I can't imagine losing my mum, I love her to death, and I'm now living with her. I've got a place in Parramatta I can move into, but I'm living with her. My dad is in Yagoona.''

With Josh Morris likely to move to fullback to fill the void left by Ben Barba's move to Brisbane, Idris would have been an ideal replacement for Morris in the centres at Canterbury.

However the Bulldogs were never really in the hunt for his signature, with Idris admitting he was mesmerised by Gould and his vision for the Panthers.

''Gus sat me down and told me where the club is going and so did my manager,'' Idris said. ''Gus is the kind of bloke who talks to you and you feel like a schoolkid again. He has that sort of influence over you.''

Idris had a mediocre season by his lofty standards when he joined the Titans from the Bulldogs in 2012.

However, the former NSW and Australian representative returned to form last season before he broke his leg, ironically against the Panthers in Darwin in July.

''I definitely had my ups and downs while I was up at the Titans,'' he said. ''2012 was full of injuries, and it's hard when people are bombarding you. I came into 2013 fully fit and with no injuries. After the first half of the season people were saying, 'Oh, you're playing good, is it this, is it that? But I wasn't injured, that was the only difference. Then I did my leg. That was heart-breaking.

''It's funny because the majority of people talk to me about representative footy. They think about it more than I think about it. That's the last thing on my mind. I'm not thinking about the Blues, I'm not thinking about Australia, I'm not thinking about anything but playing for this club. For me personally as long as I'm injury free I'll be happy.''

Idris insists he left the Titans with no hard feelings. His mother's health was the No.1 priority and admits it was difficult being away from home.

12 comments so far

  • It remains to be seen if Idris can regain his speed,after a badly broken leg.

    Apparently john cartwright is delighted with his swap.........a more switched on centre ,at half the price.
    And as for Gould's 15 year plan...the jury isstill well and truly out

    roger the dodger
    Emu Planes
    Date and time
    January 13, 2014, 8:23PM
    • I know who got dudded .............. and it wasn't Cartwright.
      Talk about a wasted space with no speed.
      I'd feel guilty just putting my hand out for my weekly pay.
      Then again, some can do so, a ease ............ case in point.

      Old Kogarah Boy
      Date and time
      January 15, 2014, 5:16PM
  • Always liked Jamal. People have been very hard on him about his form. Thankfully, at 23, he's got plenty of time to develop further in his career. Welcome to the Panthers, Jamal! Do us proud.

    Date and time
    January 13, 2014, 8:30PM
    • The Mark Tookey of centres. Apart from a questionable work ethic, genetically is always going to struggle with his weight. Will end up in the back row off the bench.

      Date and time
      January 14, 2014, 7:10AM
      • Last time I saw Idris he looked about 10kgs overweight. If Cleary can get him fit - i.e. get his body fat percentage down to around 10%, he might be of value. That's a big 'if' though.

        Kermit Jagger
        Date and time
        January 14, 2014, 8:01AM
        • Anyone seen Moneyball?

          Gould is building his soldiers, quietly from a team of discarded and supposedly 'over it and beyond it players', but he is building a culture which is the soul of this game, giving those with potential, who had bad runs of form or lost their way a second chance. He's welcoming those bullied by the haters, cast of by the elitists and snubbed from rep football. But when you add up some of the experience and potential he is mustering it makes you think the Panthers could be the real deal in a few years Wallace, Soward, Idris, Kite - probably all for a fraction of what similiar players in the same positions cost. It will be good to watch Soward kick a few goals from the sideline against the Dragons, Wallace put his runners through holes in the Brisbane defence, Idris stomp on a few Titans and Kite run harder at Manly than a runaway train. They'll play for him tougher than anyone else because like them he's tasted success and yet he's attacked and despised by the haters. Good on you Gus and I'm no Panthers fan.

          Date and time
          January 14, 2014, 10:35AM
          • Gould might be building something with his outcasts as you say, but whats wrong with Penrith's juniors? Nothing has changed since I played lower grades in the late 80's. So much local raw talent just waiting to be developed and always discarded. I have seen guys there that run rings around some of the players they have bought, but its always the head up the backside deal at Penrith, and Gould still has it. Just look in your own backyard, fella's!

            Date and time
            January 15, 2014, 6:28AM
        • Jamal Idris was in the top two or three centres last year, an untimely broken leg may have been was difference in the Titans season, welcome to the Panthers, a huge prospect, so big, so young, a super signing Gus Gould, well done.

          Date and time
          January 14, 2014, 11:18AM
          • If Soward regains his form from 2010
            he will be the buy of the year. Under the influence of Gus and Cleary he will be the buy of the year.

            Date and time
            January 14, 2014, 11:42AM
            • Although I'm not a Gus fan (being a qld'er) I do think along with Cleary they will get the best out of Idris as they will get out of the side they putting together. unfortunately, it's last thing a Bronco's fan wants to see. Althought deep down I hope Wally does real well, he deserves it.

              cantab of broncoland
              Mt Warren pk
              Date and time
              January 14, 2014, 1:48PM

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