This gives new meaning to the terms silvertails and fibros.

This is the breathtaking view of Manchester City’s $380 million training facility, which will be home to the Penrith Panthers next month. It includes 16 football fields, including an indoor pitch.

Phil Gould was proud to open the Panthers’ $22 million academy in 2016, and it is still one of the best training facilities in the NRL.

But you can only imagine what coach Ivan Cleary, his son and halfback Nathan, and their Panthers teammates will be thinking when they step onto the hallowed turf of the Premier League and European champions.

Now that’s cool: Panthers players will train at Manchester City next month

This masthead reveals that City has rolled out the sky blue welcome mat for the Panthers as they seek their first World Club Challenge victory on English soil.

The Panthers will be City’s guests when they play Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on February 17 (February 18 AEDT), before training on an indoor pitch 48 hours later. They will also have access to the city’s gym, pool, and massage rooms.

There has also been talk about a couple of senior Panthers being interviewed on the club’s CityTV during game day coverage.

Cleary’s partner, Mary Fowler, plays for City, but the popular Matildas player had nothing to do with the Panthers’ training agreement.

Fowler will be in Australia for an Olympic qualifier against Uzbekistan when Cleary, a passionate Manchester United fan, and the Panthers clash with Super League champions Wigan on February 24.

Panthers officials said the fact they were chasing a fourth straight title was a big reason City, who are also in hot pursuit of a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, opened up their campus for the first time to an NRL club.

Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos were given City’s blessing to use one of their training grounds during the 2022 World Cup.

Penrith will also train in Warrington, including an opposed session against Sam Burgess’ side, before they travel to Wigan.

Panthers football manager Jason Wrigley will fly to England on Sunday to finalise arrangements.

Penrith chief executive Matt Cameron was grateful the Panthers had been afforded such treatment by a club boasting global appeal. City’s Instagram account has 50 million followers. One of their biggest stars, Kevin De Bruyne, earns $3 million a month, almost three times what Penrith’s playmaker, Cleary, earns in a year.

Manchester City star Erling Haaland.
Manchester City star Erling Haaland.CREDIT:GETTY

“We’re incredibly appreciative of what Manchester City have offered us, the World Club Challenge is important to the club, but the chance for the playing group to go overseas and experience the City campus will be enormous,” Cameron said.

“The club’s success [in] the last three years has helped with brand awareness, and you can only imagine what linking with a club like City will do for us.

“It’s a recognition in some ways that we’re good enough to represent the NRL and our game on the international stage.”

The Panthers lost the 1991 World Club Challenge in Wigan 21-4, then went down 22-4 to Bradford in Huddersfield in 2004.

The Roosters toured FC Barcelona’s facility before their 2020 World Club Challenge against St Helens, with coach Trent Robinson admitting the few days spent at Camp Nou showed them “how we want to play and want to be as a club”.

Wests Tigers-bound playmaker Jarome Luai met with surgeon Allan Young on Tuesday and was told his recovery from major shoulder surgery had him on track for a return in round one against Melbourne. He remains an outside chance to be fit for the World Club Challenge, but club medical staff are expected to hold him back a few extra weeks in time for the season proper.

Luai has been able to pass the ball and commenced tackling technique work, as well as light wrestling drills at the end of each training session.

Meanwhile, WWE star LA Knight and Grayson Waller presented Panthers players with a championship belt in recognition of the one that drove them to a third NRL title last year.

Panthers forward Scott Sorensen welcomed the chance to train at City and said it would be “once in a lifetime”.

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