The last time club great Greg Alexander took a Penrith prodigy under his wing, Craig Gower and the Panthers went all the way to claim an unlikely NRL premiership.
Now, more than a decade after pulling the plug on his coaching career, the Penrith legend has again volunteered to hold a clipboard as he aims to guide their young halves to stardom.
In the same week coach Anthony Griffin opted to move Matt Moylan to five-eighth, Alexander donned the club colours and took to the training paddock with the captain and Nathan Cleary.
And he hasn’t shied away from predicting success for Moylan, admitting he can see similarities in Darren Lockyer’s famous move from fullback midway through his career.
“I can. If I say no, it’s diminishing what I think of Matt. Lockyer played fullback and moved to five-eighth and was successful. I think Matt can do the same thing,” Alexander told AAP.
“Most of the fullbacks have the skills to play five-eighth. It’s just whether they can handle the frontline defence. I think Matt’s worked enough on his strength and his body shape.
“He’s much stronger than what he was a couple of years ago. I know he’s excited about it, so that’s the main thing. He’s certainly got the skills to make a great five-eighth.”
The skipper, who led the Panthers to their maiden premiership in 1991, Alexander revealed how he approached club boss Phil Gould to help Moylan and Cleary fulfil their potential as a pairing.
Moylan has already played for Australia and NSW but is still relatively young at 25, while 19-year-old Cleary only made his first-grade debut at exactly the same stage one season ago.
Despite living on the northern beaches, Alexander continues to play a significant role at the foot of the mountains as a deputy chairman, but wants to dip his toe again on the field.
“I spoke to Gus about it and I spoke to Anthony about it. It was just a general chat and something I wanted to do. I said I’d be happy to work with them,” he said.
“I said to Anthony I’d like to have a couple of sessions with Matt and Nathan and analyse their kicking from the previous week, look at their kicking, look at what we needed to focus on.
“It’s nice to be back and involved with the on-field stuff. We’ll have a session or two a week and just work on making sure that both of them feel comfortable in any situation.
“It’s been 10 years since I’ve done anything. When I first retired, I did those first five or six years with Craig Gower, basically, and our wingers Luke Rooney and Luke Lewis.”