By James MacSmith and Ed Jackson
Less than a year after Penrith released Michael Jennings to the Sydney Roosters, the Panthers have found someone capable of filling the superstar centre's shoes - Jamal Idris.
In a shock move, Idris joined the Panthers from the Gold Coast on Tuesday for the next three NRL seasons.
It is a swap for fellow centre Brad Tighe, who has moved to the Titans on a two-year deal.
Idris, who was released by the Titans on compassionate grounds to be closer to his sick mother, joins Jamie Soward, Elijah Taylor, Brent Kite and Peter Wallace as high-profile off-season recruits at the foot of the mountains.
In a statement released by the Panthers, Gould could hardly contain his excitement at the signing of Idris.
"It is a major coup to recruit a player of such a high profile and tremendous ability," Gould said.
"Jamal will be a wonderful acquisition for Penrith, both on and off the field."
Idris will join New Zealand Test representative Dean Whare in an impressive centre pairing for the Panthers this year.
But Idris' departure leaves the Titans' depth in the centres in question and his switch with Tighe was unlikely a straight swap.
"I'm not aware of their circumstances but they probably had to make a little bit of room (in the salary cap) to fit Jamal in," Titans coach John Cartwright told reporters on the Gold Coast.
Idris joined the Titans on a big money five-year deal in 2012 but made just 35 appearances in two years with his 2013 campaign coming to a premature end after he broke his leg in round 16.
The 23-year-old had last year begun to show glimpses of the form that saw him break into the NSW and Australia teams in 2010 and 2011, and earned him a recall to representative football with NSW Country last season.
Titans chief executive Graham Annesley denied suggestions Idris' departure was linked to reports some of the club's players were not being paid their promised third party allowances.
Former Panthers premiership winner Cartwright gave an indication of what the Titans will be missing this year, and the Panthers gaining, when he paid a farewell tribute to his former player.
"He is a tremendous player and at his best he is as good as anyone in the game," Cartwright said.
Idris will join Penrith for pre-season training next week.