Luai was forced from the field early in the second half of the Panthers’ 26-24 grand final victory over the Broncos after succumbing to his troublesome left shoulder.
Following NSW’s loss to Queensland in game two, the Blues and Panthers five-eighth drew the ire of fans after he posted a late-night Instagram story where he seemingly labelled his detractors “idiots”.
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Basking in the glory of the Panthers’ historic three-peat after seeing off the Broncos on Sunday night, Luai revisited the condemned post.
Taking to Instagram in the early hours of Monday morning, Luai shared a picture of himself and teammate Sunia Turuva pointing in the direction of the camera as the Panthers prepared ahead of the grand final.
“Who’s got work tomorrow?,” Luai wrote underneath.
Luai initially hit out at trolls back in June after his form was called into question.
“Chill, All you idiots have work tomorrow morning,” he wrote at the time followed by several laughing emojis.
Blues coach Brad Fittler later revealed that the post was in response to death threats Luai had received after NSW lost the series.
Addressing fans at Monday’s premiership celebration day, Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher came to Luai’s defence following the latest wave of disapproval.
“They’re young men and the work they do in the community is unbelieve, and some of the crap they cop at times is just undeserved,” he said.
“They’re wonderful people and you’ve only got to see what Jarome Luai, what he’s done for that young boy whose mother was killed.”
Luai shared a heartfelt interaction with Panthers supporter and Sea World helicopter crash survivor Nicholas Tadros after the match, encouraging him to try on his premiership ring.
The Panthers pulled off an almighty come-from-behind win to seal their third consecutive premiership – led by an all-time grand final performance by Nathan Cleary.
With customised ski goggles, an ‘undisputed’ championship belt and plenty of Polynesia candy leis, the post-match celebrations from the Panthers’ players, coaches, staff and families reflected the three-peat dynasty not seen in Australian rugby league in 40 years.
Comically large sunglasses with the words ’Up the Pahs’ written on them were also spotted doing the rounds, seemingly poking fun at the club’s infamous social media post taunting the Warriors.
Speaking in the sheds, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary acknowledged the incredible workload needed to remain at the top.
“Firstly, I want to thank everybody in this room and anyone who has ever supported us,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey. I know this year’s team has been an incredible team, that’s one thing, but this is also part of three in a row.
“There are people here who have done so much for this team and club – players, coaches, staff members, they’re all a part of this three-peat.
“This group, man, I love you guys so much. That tonight was unbelievable. We played in a way that would have beaten most other teams. But the Broncos didn’t go away.
“When we were down 24-8 and in all sorts, I thought we accelerated.”
Before making the journey back to ‘The Riff’, the team partied in the sheds, belting out a rendition of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ and returned to the field at Accor Stadium.
Retired pro surfer and die-hard Penrith supporter Mick Fanning got in on the festivities.
In the wake of of stunning win, Fanning was seen embracing players and posing for photos as he joined the team on their lap of honour before making his way through the dressing room.
In his final act as a Panthers’ player, Stephen Crichton flashed all three of his premiership rings, while at different stages throughout the night, Cleary mistook his Clive Churchill medal for a shirt.