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Ciraldo's coaching methods paying dividends for Panthers

By his own admission, Panthers assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo takes a frugal approach to splashing cash.

So it pained him to have to fork over $500 to his team after they won a bet with the man who's markedly improved their defence.

As revealed in The Daily Telegraph, Ciraldo challenged the team to keep Canterbury to nil in their round-20 clash and promised them a financial reward if they managed to do so.

A 42-0 win meant Ciraldo's wallet copped a whack.

"That still hurts me because giving away $500, I'm not used to doing that," he said when asked about the story in a media conference before Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.

"I just thought at the back end of the year… We've had a lot of fun every day of the season.

"We try to have a joke around in our team meetings and make it as enjoyable as possible for the boys when they're in the meeting.

"I thought going into the last game, we'd wrapped up the minor premiership, I thought it'd be a nice incentive for them to go after, and they know how much I love my money so they did go after it and they got it.

"And yeah, it hurt me having to give them the $500.

"The Bulldogs went over the line at one stage and the try was disallowed, and I was hoping they didn't allow the try and we saved it but in the back of my mind I thought 'it's win-win here, because I'll save my 500'.

"But it was a nice little moment and a reward for the players to put in their players kitty, and provide more basketballs or something."

Panthers enjoy 'normal week'

Whatever his methods, Ciraldo has clearly been a master at motivating Penrith this year given their stark turnaround.

Penrith conceded the fewest points out of anyone in the competition through the regular season (238, 11.9 per game).

The side leaked 19.75 points per game in 2019.

Ciraldo paid his debt by tossing a fistful of $5 notes – but he reckons a few of the pink bills went missing.

"They scooped up about $485 and we had to check the video back because Api Koroisau put about three $5 notes in his pocket," he said.

"I don't know if the guys got that back actually."

2020 vision: Class of 2003 ready for history to repeat