Rein on the outer at Panthers
Penrith back-up hooker Mitch Rein is set to decide his future in the coming weeks and has indicated it's unlikely to be at the foot of the mountains.
The former Dragon was a mainstay in the Red V line-up for six seasons but could only manage five appearances in the Panthers' first grade side in 2017 with veteran dummy half Peter Wallace and utility Sione Katoa preferred.
Rein was linked with a move to Newcastle mid-season but the Knights have since announced the signing of Storm premiership-winner Slade Griffin.
While the 27-year-old is contracted at the Panthers for another year, it's understood the club will not stand in Rein's way should he secure a longer-term deal elsewhere.
The Kiama junior starred in Penrith's 42-18 win over the PNG Hunters in the Intrust Super State Championship on Sunday.
"I don't think there is [a spot for me next year]," Rein told NRL.com following Sunday's win.
"It's a good way to go out in the last game but we'll find out soon.
"It's just the cards I've been dealt. I came here expecting to play a fair bit of first grade and it didn't happen.
"I found myself playing reserve grade and there is no point playing if I wasn't enjoying myself, but they're a great group of guys so it has helped.
"Time will tell on where I end up."
"I think he's without doubt the best Intrust Super Premiership player by a country mile."
Garth Brennan on Mitch Rein
Panthers coach Garth Brennan paid tribute to the former NSW Country representative, who played 132 games for the Dragons before moving to Penrith at the beginning of the season.
"Mitch has been outstanding for us," Brennan said.
"It's been tough for him coming back after playing 130-odd first-grade games, but you wouldn't have known that, he was my best player every week.
"For a reserve grade coach it's hard when that happens because guys come back disappointed and it's hard to keep them up.
"I did [have a word to him] at the start. Mitch and I are really close and I think he's without doubt the best Intrust Super Premiership player by a country mile.
"I'm surprised there aren't clubs knocking on Penrith's door saying 'we want Mitch Rein'.
"This side would've been lost without him this year."
Penrith were able to celebrate their two titles on Monday after being crowned premiers in the NSW-based competition before backing it up with a strong win over the Hunters in the state championship.
Rein joked the players were limited to a beer each following the side's Intrust Super Premiership victory against Wyong a week prior, but were now free to let relax after finishing on a high.
"We had two beers each and one of them we used to celebrate the song so there was nothing left to drink," he laughed.
"It was a long drive home, but we can celebrate now.
"To win the premiership last week was an awesome feeling and to back up this week against the Queensland competition winners, it's unreal.
"We're the best second tier side in the world now.
"When we found ourselves 38 points in front, it was disappointing we let them back into the game but it was great for PNG too. No one wanted us to win.
"I'm lost for words and can't wait to look back and reflect on the year with all my teammates."