The NRL's biggest nursery is set to be abandoned after Penrith CEO Brian Fletcher admitted they will not be able to maintain junior development due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Fletcher vowed that the Panthers would survive the pandemic despite being forced to shut down their five clubs due to government restrictions, a move that will reportedly cost them $25 million if they remain closed until the end of December.
But Fletcher conceded they would not be able to continue pumping millions into their junior programs in the future.
"We spend nearly $4 million in development. I can't possibly see us being involved in all that in the future," he told Sky Sports Radio.
"We are called the development club. We develop all the players basically for rugby league.
"They come through all our systems and end up playing for somebody else.
"But looking at the finances yesterday there is no way in the world we could justify spending $4 million a year on development through those competitions."
The Panthers pride themselves on developing the game's next generation, boasting more than 10,000 juniors and teams in bush footy to Canterbury Cup.
However, Fletcher said sadly that would soon be a thing of the past.
"We only receive a grant of $350,000 from the NSWRL so you've got to look at it (development) as if it is your own business," Fletcher said.
"And that model used to work when you had plenty of cash going through poker machines but that is all changing at the moment so that is one area that will definitely change."
Fletcher was confident Panthers would survive the shutdown despite shutting down their money-making clubs which affected 700 staff.
"Our biggest problem is that we have five large clubs that closed down overnight - there's no income coming into the place," he said.
"That's the big question for us - how long are we going to be closed down for?
"(But) we are OK. We will be there no matter how long it goes for.
"We are fortunate we have a lot of assets. You don't like selling assets in this climate but we can get through this."
Australian Associated Press