The Penrith Panthers have won three competitions on the hop, and there is little doubt they enter the 2024 season as one of the teams primed to be in the mix yet again.

Ivan Cleary's side almost fell short in the 2024 grand final, but, as they have done time and time again over the last four seasons, found a way to get the job done and lift the premiership yet again.

The club come into 2024 with another key out as Stephen Crichton heads off to the Canterbury Bulldogs, and will spend the season preparing for another one with Jarome Luai already signing elsewhere for 2025.

But it hasn't stopped the men from the foot of the mountains in the last couple of years and is unlikely to slow them down significantly this time around.

Here are the key questions that will define the road ahead for Ivan Cleary's side.

3. How does Penrith replace Stephen Crichton?

The Panthers come into the 2024 season with yet another big-name departure as Stephen Crichton, who has consistently been among the competition's best centres over the last couple of years, heads to the Canterbury Bulldogs.

He will take up the number one jumper at Belmore in what will be a big boost to that club, but an equally big loss for the Panthers as they come into the new year.

The club have also lost Thomas Jenkins to the Newcastle Knights, with the youngster impressing across his handful of first-grade games to date and likely being the first-choice replacement for Crichton had he stayed.

Instead, the returning Taylan May will transform himself from a winger into a centre as he prepares to take over the spot left by Crichton.

That allows the Panthers to play both May and Turuva, who have been the breakout rookies in the outside backs at the club two years running, and will now look to form part of a lethal back five.

Izack Tago and Brian To'o quite obviously maintain their grip on the other two spots in the outside backs.

But beyond the four starting options, the club have young gun Jesse McLean and new signing Paul Alamoti as the most likely options to slot into the back five. Depth could be tested if there are injuries, but if all goes to plan, they won't lose a great deal with Crichton's departure, provided May can quickly adapt to playing in the centres.