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NRL: Can anyone stop Penrith?

The Penrith Panthers are gunning for their third straight NRL premiership in 2023, and the question being asked is, can anybody stop them?

Ivan Cleary’s men have been the stand-out team in the NRL over the past two seasons, sweeping aside all that was put before them. 

In the 2021 grand final they defeated the South Sydney Rabbitohs and backed that up in 2022 with a win over Parramatta Eels. 

Now the battle is on to win an historic three-peat and they have started the new season in a solid, rather than spectacular fashion. 

They have yet to hit form and have lost four of their opening 11 games, yet are still in the thick of things at the top of the ladder. 

That has to be a big worry for the rest of the competition as they will only improve as the season goes on. Penrith are priced at 3.40 to win the grand final, but who has the potential to stop them from winning a third title on the bounce?  

Sydney Roosters were tipped to be that team, but following a horror start to the season, that now looks unlikely. There are a few other candidates but a lot will need to go their way to end the Panthers domination.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 

Up until the last couple of weeks, South Sydney had looked the side most likely to stop the Panthers. Souths had looked like the team to beat after winning six games on the bounce, but have since lost the last two. 

They sit fifth on the ladder with eight wins and five defeats and will have to find more consistency if they are to win the grand final. 

But they have shown what they are capable of when beating the Panthers and Broncos this season, and with the likes of Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker in their side anything is possible. 

Souths have what it takes to win the grand final come the end of the year and can be backed at 4.75

Brisbane Broncos 

The Broncos have been a revelation this season and are priced at 8.00 to go on and win the grand final.  

Kevin Walters side are top of the pile with nine wins from their opening 13 games and are looking good to challenge this season. 

The addition of gun fullback Reece Walsh has been a huge plus point for them and they do have a roster packed with quality. 

The key will be keeping everyone, including Adam Reynolds fit. They slipped to back-to-back defeats against the Storm and Panthers without him, but bounced back to beat the Warriors on Saturday when he returned.

Melbourne Storm 

The Storm lost a host of experienced players during the off-season and many wrote off their chances of winning the grand final. 

They have slipped to four defeats, but have beaten the Broncos and Dolphins in their last two games and could challenge Penrith this season. 

With coach Craig Bellamy at the helm and with a roster that includes Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and Harry Grant, they can go a long way this season. 

The Storm are another side who know how to win a grand final, beating the Panthers in 2020 and they are priced at 7.00 to do it again. 

Cronulla Sharks 

The Cronulla Sharks are priced at 8.50 to win the grand final and stop the Panthers and they cannot be written off.  

They disappointed in finals last season but will have learnt from that and in Nicho Hynes have one of the best players in the NRL. 

The jury is still out on the Sharks and we will have more of an idea once they have played the Storm and Broncos in the next couple of weeks.

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