2023 Penrith Panthers Preview

The Panthers are once again the hunted as they look to make it three premierships in a row.



Ativalu Lisati, Brian To’o, Chris Smith, Dylan Edwards, Eddie Blacker, Isaah Yeo, Izack Tago, Jack Cogger, James Fisher-Harris, Jarome Luai, Liam Henry, Liam Martin, Lindsay Smith, Luke Garner, Matt Eisenhuth, Mitch Kenny, Mavrik Geyer, Moses Leota, Nathan Cleary, Scott Sorensen, Soni Luke, Spencer Leniu, Stephen Crichton, Sunia Turuva, Taylan May, Tom Jenkins, Tyrone Peachey, Zac Hosking, Jack Cole, Jesse McLean, Jaeman Salmon. Coach: Ivan Cleary.


Dylan Edwards, Taylan May, Izack Tago, Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary, Moses Leota, Mitch Kenny, James Fisher-Harris, Luke Garner, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo, Soni Luke, Scott Sorensen, Spencer Leniu, Jaeman Salmon.

BEST SIGNING – Luke Garner

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The Panthers haven’t been too busy with major signings, instead continuing their focus on their ‘next man up’ mentality, however Luke Garner will be a valuable addition to the squad after signing on for the next two seasons. After Ivan Cleary handed him his debut at the Tigers in 2018, Garner clocked 75 appearances for Wests and was one of their most consistent performers despite the club’s struggles. After the departure of Viliame Kikau, Penrith needed someone to fill the hole on that left edge and Garner should come in and thrive thanks to the best supporting cast he’s played with.

KEY PLAYER – Dylan Edwards

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There’s no shortage of stars in this Panthers line-up, and while Nathan Cleary is obviously the biggest name and incredibly important to this team, Edwards will need to continue his recent meteoric rise. After spending years as one of the more underrated players in the game, the Panthers fullback finally claimed some awards recognition after taking home the Clive Churchill medal in last year’s grand final triumph. His fitness is among the best in the competition and his hard, tough running constantly allows his team to start their sets on the front foot.


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There’s no doubt the loss of Api Koroisau leaves a huge void in the Panthers spine, but Soni Luke showed flashes of his incredible potential last season. After a long road, Luke finally made his debut in 2022 and finished with four appearances for the year. He provides a constant threat out of dummy half and while not yet of the quality of Koroisau, the Panthers will look to deploy similar tactics between their two hookers as they did late last season, with Mitch Kenny to start and Luke to come on later in the first half and take advantage of some tired forwards. After a short stint in first grade a year ago, look for Luke to solidify his spot in the top 17 and be a key part of the Panthers attack.


Despite another off season of some key losses, the Panthers still look primed for another assault on the premiership.

Kikau and Koroisau headline the departures but an underrated signing in Garner and the emergence of Luke should ensure those aren’t felt too heavily.

Of course, the spine still remains one of the competition’s best, with Jarome Luai coming off a stellar World Cup campaign, Edwards a Merv Cartwright Medal to go along with his man of the match performance in the grand final, while Cleary remains one of the best players in the world.

James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota will look to continue leading the forward pack, with Spencer Leniu looking better and better the more opportunity he receives, and Isaah Yeo the glue that holds it all together at lock.

The Panthers still have a tough draw to contend with this season, facing the Roosters, Storm, Eels, Rabbitohs and Cowboys twice.

Their success hinges on their star-studded core at least remaining at the level they’ve played at for the last three seasons, as well as the emerging youngsters continuing to improve.

Despite a challenging draw, the Panthers should well and truly be fighting for the premiership once more in 2023.

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