2023 NRL: Five Reasons Why the Panthers Will Make It a Three-Peat

Penrith become the first team since Melbourne in the late 2000’s to make four consecutive grand final appearances. Can they break a forty-year record and create history in the NRL era winning three consecutive titles? Here’s why they can do it.

Defence Wins Premierships

The foundation of Penrith’s success comes down to the art of defence. Look back before Covid and the Panthers were conceding almost 20 points a game between 2016 and 2019 even though they qualified for the finals in three of those four seasons. Since 2020 they’ve reduced that to 12 points which represents a 40% drop in points leaked.

Brisbane’s challenge is to find the defensive lapses and maybe we saw that at play last night with offloads, kicking early in the count. Surely, they’d be taking note of Manly’s efforts in round 24 which were very effective despite going down 24-12.

Adapting Their Style of Play

Embed from Getty Images

Penrith’s ability to change up their game to accommodate for the barriers in front of them has strengthened in 2023. Jack Cogger has been superb in the absence of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai at different stages in the back half of the season. Like Sean O’Sullivan prior, he’ll land at Newcastle a better player for the tenure out west.

Another player who’s fitted in well has been Tyrone Peachey in the absence of Izack Tago who’s surely still struggling with a pec problem week-to-week.

The systems put in place over a long period and the ability to adapt to team strengths puts them in good stead should they have their backs to the wall against the enthusiastic Broncos.

World Class Forward Pack

It’s a relentless forward pack that Penrith have. Up front, Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris are among the best props in the game. Liam Martin was one of New South Wales’ best in the last Origin series and Isaah Yeo grinds away to lay a solid platform.

There’s no respite when it comes to the bench which includes Spencer Leniu who plays at a hundred miles per hour, and Lindsay Smith who has developed well over the 2023 campaign.

Penrith might just have the edge over the Broncos is height and strength in the pack.

Dylan Edwards Factor

Embed from Getty Images

Last year’s Clive Churchill Medallist continues to be the unsung hero of the Panthers group. In 2021, Dylan Edwards played with injury to send Penrith to their third premiership title while last year he was exceptional in the Panthers thrashing of Parramatta in the decider.

He may not have the flair of his opposing number in Reece Walsh but the little things he does in the game makes his as much as a threat. Averaging 203 run metres (Walsh averages 153) with a tackling efficiency of 81% (Walsh 69%), 193 try assists (thanks to Andrew Abdo) and most importantly much less errors than his counterpart (Walsh top of the league with 50).

His read of play is sublime and part of the reason why Penrith concede so few points.

Should Penrith win, Edwards may win the Clive Churchill for a second year running.

Grand Final Experience

Penrith have become the first team since the Melbourne Storm in the last 2000’s to make four straight deciders.

The pain of losing their first in 2020 helped them fine tune their game and become the premier team over the first three years.

Brisbane will heavily rely on Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capewell to calm the nerves of the relatively inexperienced finals squad.

Penrith may only end up with Sunia Turuva being the only player in their starting thirteen not to have played in any of the previous grand finals the club have played in this decade.

Other Articles

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »