You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
It’s a journey of a thousand steps: Cleary

No team has won three consecutive premierships in nearly four decades, giving the Panthers an opportunity to create history in 2023.

Despite coach Ivan Cleary understanding there’s a huge opportunity for his side, he explains how there is a long journey ahead before contemplating the possibility of a three-peat.

“With each season, it’s a journey of a thousand steps,” Cleary said.

“The first step was pre-season, getting ready, and then against the Broncos tomorrow night. That’s all we’re focused on.”

Following the departures of international players Api Koroisau and Viliame Kikau, Cleary will field a new-look side for the Panthers' season opener at BlueBet Stadium.

Final Word: Round 1

Luke Garner will become Panthers No. 614 after being named to make his club debut in the back row, while Mitch Kenny has secured the dummy-half role.

Fiji international Sunia Turuva will also get his chance to start on the wing following the season-ending injury to Taylan May (ACL) in the World Club Challenge.

“With a new team comes new challenges,” Cleary said.


“The first round is the same for everyone – a lot of uncertainty around how you’ll go. I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting started.”

“This season is going to be a little bit different, and that’s what we’ll learn as time goes on.”

Cleary backed Kenny to impress in the number nine jersey, explaining how the hooker has excelled in previous games, including the 2022 Grand Final.

'Panther poaching' is a result of success: Yeo

“Good thing is Mitch has played a lot of hooker and played with those guys for three or four years now. We have that chemistry there as well,” Cleary said.

“He fits our culture beautifully. He’s a real competitor, great team guy, good value to have around on and off the field. I think we’ve all seen him play in the big games and what he can bring.”


Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.