Jem Nash reviews the 2022 Season of the Penrith Panthers where they finished minor premiers on the ladder and won back-to-back NRL Grand Final titles.
Most Tries: Taylan May (16)
Most Points: Nathan Cleary (165)
Club Player of the Year: Dylan Edwards
Panthers cap off near perfect season with fourth title
The Panthers came into the season as favourites once again with pressure on to see if they could go back-to-back. They began the season after losing key players from their 2021 campaign in Matt Burton and Kurt Capewell, with confidence their young replacements could fill those holes.
One of the standout young players who did just that was Izack Tago who took over the left centre position and formed one of the most lethal edges in the competition with Taylan May on the wing.
The Panthers began the season strong, winning their first eight matches in a row before going down to the Eels, who were responsible for two of their four losses. They were able to navigate the Origin period far better than last year, and despite losing Nathan Cleary to suspension towards the end of the season as well as Jarome Luai to a knee injury, they still finished two wins clear at the top of the ladder.
Then came an incredibly dominant finals series, beating the Eels and Rabbitohs by a combined 39 points to reach their third straight grand final, before facing off against Parramatta again in the decider, producing a near flawless performance to claim their second premiership in a row.
There were stars right across the park once again for the Panthers, starting with the forward pack led by James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota in the front row, with Isaah Yeo continuing to be the workhorse in the middle and a key link in Penrith’s attack.
Api Koroisau showed that he’s still one of the best dummy halves in the competition that will be sorely missed next year, while Cleary and Luai’s combination in the halves picking up exactly where it left off last season.
However, it was Dylan Edwards picking up the Merv Cartwright Medal as the Panthers best player. Edwards finished the year with 5,578 run metres, almost 500 more than the next best in James Tedesco, and 1,561 post contact metres, his kick returns consistently setting his side up in good field position. He capped off an incredible season by winning the Clive Churchill Medal in the grand final.
NothingButLeague Panthers Player of 2022: Nathan Cleary (18)Embed from Getty Images
Try Assists: 21
Run Metres: 1,020
Tackle Bursts: 38
Kick Metres: 8,113
Other Points: 17 Dylan Edwards; 13 Jarome Luai, Viliame Kikau; 9 Isaah Yeo, Stephen Crichton; 8 Api Koroisau, James Fisher-Harris; 3 Brian To’o, Izack Tago, Sean O’Sullivan, Taylan May; 2 Liam Martin, Scott Sorensen.