Panthers skipper feeling the pressure
NEW Penrith captain James Tamou admits he underestimated the extra pressure that came with taking on the role at the NRL club.
Tamou has led the Panthers in their past two games, since Ivan Cleary made the call to elevate him from the six-man leadership group announced at the start of the season.
The former NSW representative has taken over in a tough period, with Penrith desperately needing a win against Canberra on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak.
The club has also faced a prolonged period of spotlight off the field, with Phil Gould's departure from the Panthers all but finalised.
"When Ivan first told me I thought 'great opportunity'," Tamou said.
"This team has leadership in bucketloads. It could have been anyone and the boys would have followed suit.
"But it's a bit more pressure and I guess it's something I'm just taking on myself. It's still something I'm still learning with."
Tamou's rise to the full-time captaincy came after James Maloney and Issah Yeo stood in for Peter Wallace at the end of last year after he retired mid-season.
Tamou then joined that pair, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Mansour and Nathan Cleary in the club's new-look leadership group last summer.
But the round-six loss to Cronulla marked the first time Tamou had become full-time captain of a club in his 228-game NRL career.
"I've obviously got Jimmy Maloney and a few of the other boys there, Josh Mansour and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who I still call upon to hear their opinion on things," Tamou said.
"There is a bit more pressure but I see it as an opportunity and hopefully we can do something special this year."