Panthers boss adamant contracts won't disrupt 2021 campaign

Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher is adamant contract speculation about a host of young stars won't take the spotlight from the club's immediate goal of going one better than their 2020 finish.

The NRL runners-up will return to pre-season training on December 14 but much of the focus throughout the side's break has centred around their young off-contract stars, including Stephen Crichton and Jarome Luai.

Fletcher maintains the Panthers, aside from losing skipper James Tamou, should be in a position to challenge for the title again in 2021 after falling short in October.

He told he was confident the players would focus on their on-field mission rather than the contractual futures of their teammates despite one-third of the squad due to become free agents in 2022.

Fletcher said he was unable to comment on Brent Naden, who has been provisionally suspended by the NRL after the Penrith centre returned a positive A-sample for "metabolites of cocaine" from a post-game test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia after the October 25 grand final.

Penrith have announced they will provide support to Naden and his family as they await the outcome of the process.