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NRL Profile: Penrith Panthers

Penrith Panthers will be targeting four straight premiership wins when the 2024 NRL campaign gets underway and they will take some stopping.

Ivan Cleary’s side have dominated for the last three seasons despite key players leaving the club, and 2024 could be no different.

Once again, some big names have moved on, but the Panthers never seem to be short of players just as talented, who are ready to step in.

They are priced at 3.75 to win the 2024 grand final, and it will be down to the likes of Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney to try and stop them.

Panthers prove doubters wrong in 2023

After winning two premierships on the spin, many predicted that the Panthers would lose their edge in 2023, opening the door for a rival to take their crown.

However they once again proved the doubters wrong when winning a third straight grand final in dramatic circumstances.

Penrith had been fighting toe-to-toe with the Brisbane Broncos all season, and it was only right that the best two sides in the competition should contest the grand final.

And the Broncos looked to have it in the bag as they lead by 16 points deep into the second half.

But the Panthers never know when they are beaten and with star halfback Nathan Cleary grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck, they came roaring back.

It was a remarkable comeback that proved the hunger was still there. No doubt the same questions will be asked ahead of the new season, but the Panthers can never be written off.

With Cleary at the helm anything is possible.

Panthers wait on Luai

Not for the first time some big names have left the Panthers during the close season, including star centre Stephen Crichton, who has joined the Bulldogs.

Jack Cogger, Spencer Leniu, Jaeman Salmon and Tom Jenkins have also moved on to pastures new, but Penrith will back their replacements to step up to the plate.

Everyone who has an interest in NRL is waiting to see what decision Jarome Luai makes regards his own future.

Cleary’s partner in crime is off contract at the end of 2024 and there is talk of him moving on when the deal expires.

Penrith are keen to keep hold, but Luai could decide to take better money elsewhere.

Whatever happens, the Panthers will not want the saga to drag on, and will be pushing for an answer before the season begins.

New signings

The Panthers have been active when drafting in replacements for the players that have moved on.

The experienced Daine Laurie has arrived from Wests Tigers, while centre Paul Alamoti is also on board for 2024.

Riley Price and Brad Schneider have signed until the end of 2025 and the Panthers look to have plenty strength in depth once again.

Key players

There is almost too many to mention, just take a look at the squad list and it is packed with talent.

The stand-outs however have to be Nathan Cleary, Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o, Jarome Luai and skipper Isaah Yeo.

Opening fixture

The Panthers begin their title defence with a cracker of a game against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Friday 8th March.

There is plenty of history and rivalry between the two sides and Penrith are priced at 1.65 to start with a win.

Melbourne are available at 2.25.

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