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The awkward three-man meeting behind Egan's Penrith exit

Wayde Egan sat alongside good mate Mitch Kenny, with Ivan Cleary across the desk from them.

And realised only one of them would be staying put at their junior club.

Both had Panthers contracts through until the end of 2021 and a shared stock in Penrith's hooking role, having jostled for the No.9 jersey throughout their under 20s days together as well.

But Egan had carried a shoulder injury for much of last year, and Cleary had snuck under Canterbury's guard to sign Api Koroisau out Manly.

"He brought myself and young Mitch Kenny in one day to tell us that they had signed Api," Egan recalls of the meeting that set in motion his eventual shift to the Warriors.

"Obviously, you're a little bit filthy at the time but I saw where they were coming from too.

"Me and Mitch are really good mates, we came up together, played 20s and get along well.

Wayde Egan passes for Penrith in 2019.
Wayde Egan passes for Penrith in 2019. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"We were both in a bit of shock to start, but it settled down pretty quick and we could see where Ivan was coming from.

"I was getting shoulder surgery and there was only really Mitch on the books who could play dummy-half and he'd only played a handful of games.

"They wanted that experienced No.9 especially with young halves and Jimmy Maloney leaving so I could definitely see where they were coming from.

"Ivan told me to stay and fight for that spot but they said if you find a really good deal we're not going to stand in your way, that was good from them.

"They didn't have an issue if I wanted to stay because I still had two years there but if I thought I could get a No.9 spot elsewhere they were happy to work something out."

Egan met several clubs including a few Sydney-based outfits that would have kept him closer to home, but they offered no guarantees as far as regular starting footy.

The Warriors haven't either. Egan and utility Karl Lawton have been splitting time at dummy-half this pre-season while Nathaniel Roache recovers from another ACL injury.

"I am hoping to lock down that starting role," Egan says.

"There were other clubs interested but they all had an established hooker, there's not too many that don't at the moment. This is probably the best opportunity for that No.9 spot and I can see the team building up in the next few years.

"We haven't talked playing minutes yet but I'm coming back from shoulder surgery so it might be a build-up. But for now, I still have to nail that No.9 jumper first."

Egan came into Penrith's top flight in 2018 with big expectations, scoring 18 tries in 21 NYC games and earning team of the year honours in 2017.

A bright NRL rookie year was tempered by the Panthers struggles last year and Egan's own injury worries, prompting his move to the Warriors with Cleary's blessing.

"I think the change is good for me, I thought my footy plateaued a bit last year," he says.

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"New coaches, new players, new trainers and all of it can hopefully take my game to another level.

"I had a couple of injuries, my shoulder was playing up and I found it hard to get into a rhythm. When I came back from injury the boys were doing well and I couldn't crack the starting team.

"I was coming off the bench and wasn't too sure when I would get on the field, I struggled to get into my groove a bit. I wouldn't say I went backwards but I didn't go to the level that I wanted to."

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