2024 Preview: Penrith Panthers

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Josh Robertson looks at the season ahead for the three-time reigning champions, Penrith.

"Back to back premierships are the toughest thing in the NRL era - and going for a threepeat is unheard of during the NRL era."

They were the words of my preview last year before the Panthers 2023 campaign, and now the threepeat is a "heard-of thing" in the NRL era. Penrith did it - and now the fourpeat is the aim.

It's not very often that you can say the Minor Premiers and the eventual Premiers were inconsistent, but that was likely the case for the Panthers in 2023. They didn't dominate many teams, but their tenacity to never consider a game over was evident not just in the Grand Final, but throughout the season. When facing adversity or not performing at their best, they consistently fought back to secure victories.

The strength of the Panthers' season lay in their remarkable depth. Whenever a player was sidelined, the next in line stepped up seamlessly, not merely filling a gap but playing a crucial role. A notable example was during the period when Nathan Cleary was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Penrith rallied, including a significant comeback win under the Marvel Stadium roof, overcoming a 14-0 deficit to secure a crucial victory over fellow contenders Melbourne.

Why they'll win it

The Panthers' ambition and desire to be the league's standard-bearer have been evident in recent years. Their depth and never-say-die attitude make them arguably the strongest team in the NRL. The impending departure of fan favorite Jarome Luai adds an emotional incentive for the team to secure a fourth consecutive premiership before his move to the Wests Tigers.

Stability in the spine, with the same 1, 6, 7, and 9, along with key contributions from players like James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota up front, and Isaah Yeo at lock, gives the Panthers a strong foundation.

Why they won't

Despite losing only six games in the 2023 season, the Panthers displayed patches of inconsistency, especially in matches against teams outside the top 8. Weather conditions also played a role, with a loss in extremely wet conditions in Bathurst.

The Grand Final highlighted potential challenges, as the Panthers, despite dominating possession in the first half, could only manage a 6-0 lead. Their ability to find a way back into matches and convert dominance into points might be a concern.

Player movement

2024 GainsDaine Laurie (Wests Tigers)
Brad Schneider (Hull KR)
Paul Alamoti (Canterbury)
Contracted for 2024Ativalu Lisati, Brad Schneider, Brian To'o, Daine Laurie, Dylan Edwards, Harrison Hassett, Isaah Yeo, Izack Tago, Jack Cole, James Fisher-Harris, Jarome Luai, Jesse McLean, Liam Henry, Liam Martin, Lindsay Smith, Luke Garner, Matt Eisenhuth, Mavrik Geyer, Mitch Kenny, Moses Leota, Nathan Cleary, Paul Alamoti Scott Sorensen, Soni Luke, Sunia Turuva, Taylan May, Tyrone Peachey
2024 LossesStephen Crichton, Jaeman Salmon (Canterbury)
Spencer Leniu (Sydney)
Jack Cogger, Thomas Jenkins (Newcastle)
Zac Hosking (Canberra)
Eddie Blacker (Norths Devils QLD Cup)
Chris Smith (released)
DevelopmentRiley Price, Luke Sommerton, Isaiah Iongi, Preston Riki

Key player

While Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, and Dylan Edwards are crucial, attention should also be on the edges where the Panthers have shown strength. The loss of Stephen Crichton is significant, making players like Sunia Turuva and Taylan May crucial.

Turuva, unexpectedly taking on a prominent role in 2023 and becoming a star in his own right, addressed defensive frailties but could be a target for opponents.


Two noteworthy rookies for the Panthers in 2023 are Jack Cole and Mavrik Geyer. Cole, from Orange, is seen as the heir to Jarome Luai and will have a chance to showcase his skills during the World Club Challenge. A versatile player, he has experience in various positions in the NSW Cup side.

Not to mention the two letters synonymous with the Penrith club - MG. Mavrik Geyer, carrying the legacy of hard and tough front rowers at Penrith, is expected to play a significant role in the forward rotation. Impressive performances in the Jersey Flegg, NSW Cup competitions, and NRL trials in 2022 and 2023 have generated excitement around his potential impact.

Predicted 17

1.    Dylan Edwards
2.    Sunia Turuva
3.    Izack Tago
4.    Taylan May
5.    Brian To'o

6.    Jarome Luai
7.    Nathan Cleary

8.    Moses Leota
9.    Mitch Kenny
10.  James Fisher-Harris
11.  Scott Sorensen
12.  Liam Martn
13.  Isaah Yeo

Interchange: 14.  Soni Luke 15.  Lindsay Smith 16.  Liam Henry 17.  Luke Garner

2024 fixture list

All times AET (Penrith local time)

WCCSat 8:00pmFeb 24thAWiganDW
R1Fri 8:05pmMar 8thAMelbourneAAMI
R2Fri 8:05pmMar 15thHParramattaBlueBet
R3Thu 8:00pmMar 21stHBrisbaneBlueBet
R4Thu 8:00pmMar 28thASydneyAllianz
R5Sat 5:30pmApr 6thAManly4 Pines
R6Apr 11-14BYE
R7Sat 3:00pmApr 20thHWests TigersCarrington
R8Sat 7:35pmApr 27thANorth QLDQLD C. Bank
R9Thu 7:50pmMay 2ndASouthsAccor
R10Fri 6:00pmMay 10thHCanterburyBlueBet
R11Sun 1:50pmMay 19thAWarriorsSuncorp
R12Sat 5:30pmMay 25thACronullaPointsbet
R13Sat 5:30pmJun 1stHSt Geo IllaBlueBet
R14Sun 4:05pmJun 9thHManlyBlueBet
R15Sun 4:05pmJun 16thANewcastleMcD. Jones
R16Jun 20-23BYE
R17Sun 4:05pmJun 30thHNorth QLDBlueBet
R18Fri 8:00pmJul 5thABrisbaneSuncorp
R19Jul 11-14BYE
R20Sun 2:00pmJul 21stHDolphinsBlueBet
R21Sun 2:00pmJul 28thASt Geo IllaWIN
R22Sun 2:00pmAug 4thHNewcastleBlueBet
R23Fri 8:00pmAug 9thAParramattaCommBank
R24Thu 7:50pm
Aug 15thHMelbourneBlueBet
R25Sat 3:00pmAug 24thACanberraGIO
R26Fri 8:00pmAug 30thHSouthsBlueBet
R27Sat 7:35pmSep 7thHGold CoastBlueBet