Kevin Kingston loves taking on his old club and western Sydney rivals Parramatta. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Cross-town rivalry is about invading someone's personal space, but for Panthers leader Kevin Kingston, you can drop the space: It's all personal, baby.
"Especially because I've played for both sides, it's personal for me," the normally guarded Kingston told NRL.com when discussing Penrith's rivalry with Parramatta.
Kingston spent just one season with the Eels, but it was a helluva one, establishing himself as an integral member of their fairytale run to the grand final before salary cap issues sadly forced him further down the M4.
Since then, the savvy hooker has appeared in 96 games over four seasons at the foot of the mountains, where he has also been club captain for the past 18 months despite being told his services were no longer required midway through 2013.
But the 30-year-old proceeded to almost led the Panthers to the finals, finishing just one win out of the top eight. His form was so compelling that the club backflipped on their decision to let him go and instead re-signed him for one more season.
Kingston said some of his best memories as a footballer have come at the cost of his previous club, against which he holds a proud 5-2 record. The Panthers, in fact, have won five of their past six against Parramatta, including a two-game sweep in 2013.
"It's massive because it's the Battle of the West. We're the two western Sydney teams going at it," Kingston said.
"We usually have a trial game but we don't this year which is a shame because it's usually pretty good and we get a decent crowd for that.
"But Parra and Penrith games are always real battles. We've had some really tight games. We've got them at golden point once and they got us at golden point too.
"But the one I remember the most was when [Lachlan] Coote scored on the final play of the match. We've had some success over them and we'd like to keep that going."