Jarome Luai is at it again, basking in the glory of Penrith’s historic premiership three-peat in his trademark cheeky fashion.
The Panthers came from behind to beat the Brisbane Broncos 26-24 in a thrilling NRL Grand Final to become the first team in 40 years to win three titles in a row.
Down 16 points with 25 minutes to go, Nathan Cleary put his team on his back, setting up Moses Loeta, before Stephen Crichton scored and Cleary crossed for a try in the dying minutes to seal the deal.
It was very much the Cleary show after Jarome Luai went off the field in the 52nd minute. The Panthers five-eighth was nursing a busted shoulder throughout the final series and will undergo off-season surgery as he contemplates whether to stay at Penrith or head to the open market.
After Cleary pulled off the miracle comeback, Luai embraced his halves partner and couldn’t have been happier as he celebrated an epic premiership win.
Renowned for embracing his villain tag, Luai played up to fans once again, sharing a photo with teammate Sunia Turuva with the caption: “Who’s got work tomorrow?” and an endless stream of “HAHA”.
The joking sledge was a throwback to when Luai goaded fans after NSW lost Game 2 and the State of Origin series.
He posted at the time: “Chill. “All you idiots have work tomorrow morning,” along with seven crying laughing emojis.
It was meant in a much more joking way this time around, although it’s slightly ironic that many Aussies in NSW, South Australia and the ACT have the day off work on Monday thanks to the Labour Day public holiday.
Luai joins Cleary, Isaah Yeo, Dylan Edwards, Liam Martin, Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota, Spencer Leniu and Scott Sorenson as one of 11 Panthers to play in all three premierships.
But he played a limited role in the Grand Final, with Jack Cogger coming off the bench early in the second half and playing out the game as the perfect foil to Cleary.
CODE Sports’ Adam Peacock wrote on X: “Jack Cogger had a massive influence on the influence of Cleary.”
Cogger will join the Newcastle Knights next year, but he can now call himself a premiership player after playing a major rule in Penrith’s comeback, including helping set up Crichton’s try.
Luai will now have to soon choose between staying at the Panthers or leaving to a rival club, where he could reportedly earn $2 million more on a new deal, with Penrith only able to offer him around $800,000 per season.