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With the 2018 season drawing nearer, we will begin to look at how each team is shaping up for the season ahead.

Today, we take a look at the Penrith Panthers โ€“ and what their best 17 looks like.

Penrith Panthers 2018 Player Movements

2018 Gains
Caleb Aekins (2020), Christian Crichton (2021), Adam Keighran (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2018), James Maloney (Cronulla Sharks, 2020), Liam Martin (2018), Chad O'Donnell (2018), Joey Peato (2018), Tyrone Phillips (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2018), Paea Pua (2018), Jayden Walker (Cronulla Sharks, 2018)
2018 Losses
Sitaleki Akauola (Warrington Wolves), Bryce Cartwright (Gold Coast Titans), Zach Dockar-Clay (Hull Kingston Rovers), Peta Hiku (New Zealand Warriors), Samisoni Langi (Catalan Dragons), Leilani Latu (Gold Coast Titans), Te Maire Martin (North Queensland Cowboys), Matt Moylan (Cronulla Sharks), Darren Nicholls (St George Illawarra Dragons), Michael Oldfield (Canberra Raiders), Mitch Rein (Gold Coast Titans), Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (Wests Tigers)
Re-Signed
Wayde Egan (2019), Corey Harawira-Naera (2020), Sione Katoa (2019), Viliame Kikau (2022), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (2020), Dean Whare (2022)
Off Contract 2018
Jack Hetherington, Adam Keighran, Jarome Luai, Soni Luke, Chad O'Donnell, Joey Peato, Tyrone Phillips, Corey Waddell
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2018 Predicted Lineup

  1. Dylan Edwards
  2. Josh Mansour
  3. Dean Whare
  4. Waqa Blake
  5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  6. James Maloney
  7. Nathan Cleary
  8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  9. Peter Wallace
  10. James Tamou
  11. Bryce Cartwright
  12. Isaah Yeo
  13. Trent Merrin
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  14. Tyrone Peachey
  15. Corey Harawira-Naera
  16. James Fischer-Harris
  17. Tim Browne

Reserves: Sione Katao, Moses Leota, Tyrone Phillips, Tyrone May.

Coach: Anthony Griffin

The Big Question: Will James Maloneyโ€™s lucky charm see him take a fourth club to a grand final appearance?

PICK YOUR TEAM: Not happy with the predicted team? Then pick a better one here!

31 COMMENTS

  1. This could be a make or break year for the Panthers, certainly for their coach, as the weight of expectation piles pressure on the Panther cubs in 2018. If the Panthers don’t finish in the top 4 and fail to get to the semi-finals then Barney Rubble could be in trouble and Fred Flintone could be looking for a new marionette to pull the strings for at Penrith. If that happens, no doubt frรคulein Goebbels will be working overtime for the Panther’s ministry of “public enlightenment” and propaganda trying to convince us all that she never really liked the coach Anthony Griffith who was more Griffin than Panther in the first place. The same thing happened with Matt Moylan’s departure and nobody bought that line either! Bahahahahahahahahahaha

  2. Not a bad lineup. They should go well.
    My only issue for them is their coach. I don’t think he is the right fit for the Panthers.
    Just my opinion.

    Keen to see how Mansour goes in his last season with them before he joins the Eels ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I thought he was already signed by the Roosters. They are keeping it quiet because they don’t want people to think they are breaching the salary cap.

      • ‘breaching the salary cap’ The Roosters have bleached the system dry they should be called the ‘lillly whites’.

        The really are a stain on the game ?

        note : Bleach is the name given to a group of chemicals, which are used industrially and domestically to whiten clothes, lighten hair color and remove stains.

        • @ tommy

          Don’t tell me that word is on JBP’s blacklist along with his list of banned books? He was probably afraid that after a decade of corruption someone would eventually ask him to “clean up his act”. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    • I agree a great lineup with an average coach. I didnโ€™t rate Griffin at Brisbane and I still donโ€™t at Penrith. They have an exciting team with a coach that coaches boring football.

      That is an insane bench though.

      • Pretty much spot on with that one tommy. I can’t agree with Browne though, he is just driftwood and is better suited to reserve grade IMO.

    • Mansour to the eels? I must have missed that. MASSIVE signing for your boys! What is happening out west these days? Is the old rivalry dead? Panthers are flocking to their old enemy the Eels like rats leaving a sinking ship. Perhaps they know that Barney Rubble is leading them straight for an iceberg! LOL

      @ chalky

      I think talk of Mansour to the Roosters might be more a case of wishful thinking perhaps. As for the Roosters fearing reigniting talk of salary cap breaches, I don’t think the Roosters are at all concerned about that. They can sign a truckload of players for $1 mill a year it seems and just explain it away by the fact that they don’t backend their contracts and just handle their recruitment better than any other club in the business! LOL

  3. Penrith are a real chance to make the top four. On paper they should be there with the Roosters, Parra and probably old man Thurston’s Cowboys.

    • Easts won’t make top 4 , they may make the 8 if they are lucky , please remember this post when it becomes a reality, also SSTID I Pm’ed you

      • They have quality across the park and a premiership winning coach. Injury is the only reason I see why Easts may not make the top 8. Can you explain your reasoning.

      • Surely that is based solely on the fact you are a Rabbitoh Penso? Barring injury the Roosters will be very hard to beat this year, and should be in strong contention for the minor premiership. Is there something else you know of that will get in their way?

      • Same here penso and I can only hope that your prediction about the chooks proves to be prophetic. Unfortunately I think tge chooks have bought a place in the top 4 perhaps even with SBW, Israel Folau, Semi Radradra and Josh Mansour to come… and they will STILL be under the cap! ๐Ÿ˜‚

        Let’s just hope that the chooks have counted their eggs before they hatched and you are right.

  4. Expecting big things from the Panthers in 2018 although I have my concerns.

    Will the Maloney/Cleary combination be a success?

    Representative duties will surely have an impact midway through the season with Maloney, Cleary, Wallace, Tamou, Merrin and Mansour in the mix for blues selection.

    Moylan, Latu, Rein and other key players have departed leaving a lack of depth.

    Can the squad remain injury free?

    • Fair concerns, this is how I see it….

      I think the Maloney Cleary combination will work. Maloney will provide a steadying hand and allow Cleary to grow his game and run the team. I would not be surprised to see them both in Blue later this year.

      I think Maloney, Cleary and Mansour will be there for sure. Tamou’s time has passed, there are many in front of him, although RCG is one of them. Mansour will probably be there too. Wallace will only play if Api doesn’t start the season strong, although I would still prefer to see Peats (with instruction to run) or Cook. And Merrin will only play as a last resort through injuries.

      Depth may be a problem, but they still have some good young guys fighting for a spot. I am not sure about who is next in line at hooker if Wallace goes down, so that may be a concern.

      Injuries are the great unknown aren’t they? Penrith have had a horror run over the last few years, so maybe it is their turn to have a good run.

      I think Griffin is the major concern. There are still rumblings that some players aren’t happy and that maybe Peachey was the tip of the iceberg.

  5. What no Kikau… if panthers donโ€™t have him in the 17 and playing on an edge they are nuts and he should go elsewhere. Has to be in the 17 Big, mobile and Skillful ๐Ÿ‘

  6. Cartwright has to be one of the most over rated players in the NRL right now. I’d be starting Harawera-Naera over him and have Kikau on the bench over him. He can go play in the ISP and thrive but he’s far to inconstant and error prone to start for a title contending team

  7. I think Griffo will suit Maloney just as Flanders did at the Sharkies… Pennies have depth and as long as they dont get away to a slow start like last year they should be right up at the end of the season.

  8. Hate to deathride a coach but top 8 and deep into finals is the only good outcome for the Griff with this team.
    I wonder who will be the next coach to go, is it Clints last season ? Marys under pressure after a poor finish last year.
    Good luck Panthers !

  9. The Panthers have been on the cusp of something special for a couple of years now. The addition of Maloney should provide the stability and experience they need in the halves to finally give them the chance to reach the heights that many thought they would last year. I agree with the comments above though and am not sure that Griffen is the man to take them to the next level, and that this year will make or break him at the Panthers.

    I am not a fan of Cartwright either, too inconsistent with his offloading, and his defence is terrible. I would not have him starting the game, the bench is more suited. Start Harawera-Naera. Also agree that a spot must be found for Kikau, so maybe Cartwright misses out all together……

  10. I find Catwright so overated defence is average at best and attack is too 50/50.Execpt when he plays parra the guy usaually plays a blinder

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