You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

The back-to-back-to-back premiers enter the 2024 season without two of their big guns in Stephen Crichton and Spencer Leniu but such is the depth in their squad that a fourth straight title looms as a very real possibility.

With Jarome Luai moving on to Wests Tigers in 2025, his teammates will be keen to send him out a winner and they certainly boast the firepower to again finish top four with Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo driving the standards and Ivan Cleary conducting the band from the coach’s box.

The Panthers have won a remarkable 68 of their 82 games since the start of 2021, continually reinventing themselves and finding ways to cope with the mid-season Origin drain and the injuries that are part and parcel of a long NRL season.

Again in 2024 they will be the hunted, with rivals lining up to knock them off their perch, starting with renowned Round 1 specialists the Storm in a blockbuster season opener in Melbourne.

With games against their last two grand final opponents the Eels and Broncos to follow, the Panthers will get a stern early test of their credentials as they embark on a journey they hope will end with another slice of history in October.

Not since the legendary St George side of the 1950s and 60s has a team won four premierships in a row, but when you have the man with the golden boot calling the shots in the No.7 and man with the Golden Boot laying the foundation up front, self-belief will never be an issue.

NRL Fantasy club by club: Panthers

Predicted Round 1 team

1. Dylan Edwards
2. Sunia Turuva
3. Izack Tago
4. Tyrone Peachey
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 Martin
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Soni Luke
15. Lindsay Smith
16. Luke Garner
17. Liam Henry

Most-watched tries of 2023: No. 1

Key Changes

Ins: Daine Laurie (Wests Tigers), Brad Schneider (Hull KR), Paul Alamoti (Bulldogs).
Outs: Stephen Crichton (Bulldogs), Spencer Leniu (Roosters), Jaeman Salmon (Bulldogs), Jack Cogger (Knights), Zac Hosking (Raiders).

Health Check

Sunia Turuva (calf, Pre-Season).

Positional Battle to Watch

Take one of the world’s best big game players out of any team and you’re going to need some time to adjust but Ivan Cleary has a number of viable options to partner Izack Tago in the centres.

At one end of the age scale, 32-year-old Tyrone Peachey scored nine tries in 11 games in the centres in 2023, while 19-year-old Paul Alamoti arrives at the club from the Bulldogs with massive raps and untapped potential. Alamoti is sure to thrive in the Panthers system and could be a real X-factor for Cleary.

The wildcard in the race to fill Crichton’s shoes is Fijian flyer Sunia Turuva, who has the pace and power to be a sensation in the centres. Should the 21-year-old slide in one slot he would open the door for Taylan May to return on the wing after a year out with an ACL injury.

May has also expressed a desire to play in the centres, meaning Dally M Winger of the Year Turuva could stay on the flank.

A big portion of the Panthers side picks itself but the fight for the centre spot vacated by Crichton is sure to be an intriguing one.

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.