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Discussion in 'Penrith Panthers' started by Panther_Daz, Sep 15, 2018.
Lawn bowls is the new half time entertainment.
Decent preview. I am shocked Fox sports allowed it on their website
Panthers’ best 17: The big questions Ivan Cleary has to answer in 2019
January 7, 2019 1:29pm
Source: FOX SPORTS
The Panthers' best 17 for 2019.Source: FOX SPORTS
Ivan Cleary took next to no time to turn the Wests Tigers into a gritty defensive unit and the Panthers should be no exception in 2019.
This, coupled with their incredible young talent, bodes well for a big year.
They reached the semi-finals in a reasonably successful season last year, but endured immense turmoil to make it as far after head coach Anthony Griffin was sacked weeks out from the finals.
Rumours persisted he was on the way out all season, and despite dips in form and swirling speculation, they finished with a flourish but were ultimately bundled out in the second week.
Imagine what they can do with stability.
The famously cool Cleary has one major decision to make heading into the season ahead — who plays fullback?
Rising star Dylan Edwards has showed his attacking nous across the past few seasons despite playing just 25 NRL games. We predict he will unseat New Zealand fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for the No.1 spot — although a case could be made for either.
However, the biggest issue Cleary faces is how to quickly develop the burgeoning forward pack as depth is sure to become an issue around State of Origin time — particularly if there are a few injuries along the way.
They’re young and experienced in finals footy.
The majority of the squad has been together for a few years now, during which time they have played finals football and have been a genuine premiership chance.
Although they’ve lost the experience of Trent Merrin as well as Tyrone Peachey and Corey Harawira-Naera, the Panthers have proven themselves a resilient and capable team ready to take the next step.
Aside from Josh Mansour (28), Dean Whare (who turns 29 in January), James Maloney (32) and James Tamou (30), the starting team is in their early to mid-20s. RCG and Nathan Cleary have stepped up to the representative level and had success.
Through the upheaval of a sacked coach weeks before the finals in 2018, the younger players kept their cool and several developed leadership skills — including Watene-Zelezniak who went on to captain New Zealand at the end of the season. This young team has been through plenty and will be even better for it in 2019
Pressure is on
The Clearys. It goes without saying, but the kerfuffle that was caused to unite father and son at the foot of the mountains created a wave of change throughout the NRL.
It needs to amount to something.
Although the success of the Panthers in 2019 doesn’t solely rest with these two, a lot of it does.
As coach and halfback, they carry a huge amount of responsibility already — but add to it the reported $10 million it took to bring them together at Penrith as well as the father and son experiment, and you have a relationship that has a huge knock-on effect for the club.
The rising star
Wayde Egan. He spent time in the halves during his junior career and has a good understanding of game management. He brings a playmaking quality from behind the ruck and although he only played 11 NRL games in 2018, he’s destined for more game time this season.
Egan will be 22 by the time the NRL season starts and another pre-season under his belt has allowed him to build on his frame, while the battle with Sione Katoa for the starting hooker position will continue through the year.
Both he and Katoa are off-contract at the end of the season and both will be pushing for a full-time, 80-minute hooking position. Quality young hookers are a rarity on the market and it’s unlikely the Panthers will be able to retain both players as they develop into genuine starting No.9s.
The unlucky ones
Tyrell Fuimaono, Hame Sele, Tyrone May.
May has developed into something of a stop gap at the Panthers and chances are he’ll do the same job again this year. The 22-year-old has played 19 games for the club across two seasons, filling in at five-eighth or playing from the bench as a utility.
However, with Sione Katoa and Wayde Egan likely to share dummy half duties, May could be forced to bide his time for injury or State of Origin for his chance.
Rising second row talent Tyrell Fuimaono has joined the club from South Sydney where he had limited opportunities to crack into their star-studded pack in 2018.
He’ll push for his chance at the Panthers and should build on his 19 NRL games this year. Ex-Dragons forward Hame Sele has also joined the club for the same reason and will create further competition for spots in the young pack.
It’s a big year for
The pack. Reagan Campbell-Gillard is undoubtedly the leader after losing Merrin to the English Super League
Tamou spent much of last season playing from the bench — and although he rediscovered form — could remain there if Cleary opts to promote Moses Leota to a starting spot (provided he can up his minutes).
Isaah Yeo, RCG and Tamou are the most experienced players in the young pack now.
Viliame Kikau had a breakout year in 2018 and should go to another level this season, and James Fisher-Harris improves each year, but Ivan Cleary will need to quickly develop the likes of Kaide Ellis, Jack Hetherington, Tyrell Fuimaono and Hame Sele to handle the rigours of week to week NRL.
An injury or two in the forwards and things could get scarce quickly if the young players are not ready to handle the workload. How they shape up against established packs like the Cowboys, Dragons and Roosters will ultimately determine where the Panthers finish in 2019.
Panthers’ best 17
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 Sione Katoa
10 Moses Leota
11 Viliame Kikau
12 Isaah Yeo
13 James Fisher-Harris
14 Wayde Egan
15 Kaide Ellis
16 Jack Hetherington
17 James Tamou
Are the majority of us under the impression that Egan will be 9?
If we are to improve he needs to be our 9.
I prefer the way the sharks went about bringing Brailey into FG.
He was given the role and persisted with knowing he would be a talent and he’s come good.
We seem to bank players up and give them limited game time each and try to cram them into the 17 because they’re too good to leave out.
Seems counterproductive if we end up canning katoa for Egan come the end of the season
Here’s something out of left field, why not give it to the player who has the best off season, pre season and deserves it on form. No pre conceived ideas, bias, or whatever just Ivan to make a decision based on merit. That might work.
Maloney/Cleary can't do it all. So we need another kicker or 2. Egan has the better creativity. If Katoa is flying through pre season you can't ignore that
Hard to argue.
Same could be said about our front rowers.
Egan at 9 & Katoa 14 for me with Katoa able to pinch hit in the back row if required.
Although I reserve the right to change my mind after 5-6 games if its not working.
The thing with the 14 will be how they plan to get Luai up to speed. Just playing FG or do they want him playing halves in NSW Cup to develop.
Katoa or May are more versatile but long term possibly Luai there is better
Katoa is the better kicker of the two. He just needs to cut out the no look shit and run a bit more. I'm still not convinced Egan can pass the ball well enough to be an 80 minute hooker.
I think we will see Luai off the bench at some stage, probably not straight away.
I think this will be the way they sort it out, with a bit of chopping and changing to see what works best.
What he said^
Egan was a half in lower grades. So must have some vision but the playing the 80 mins is the issue
He should get a few games cover as halves either way
I think we stand more chance of improving with Katoa, He kicks better, wrestles really well and gets our forwards going much better as long as he doesn't keep coming up with a forward pass each week. Katoa created a couple of tries last season, kicking and passing the ball. IF he can run more he is easily the more complete hooker. Egan is bigger and a much better runner, Katoa pretty well has him covered everywhere else.
Katoa has nice vision also, he put Chricton over last year when he spotted they were short down the blindside, he also set up a few tries with kicks. I don't see how Egan has the better creativity tbh.
Edit: In regards to there kicking, Egan had 2 kicks for and 2 kicking metres last season in 11 games. Sione had 22 kicks and 598 kicking metres in 20 games.
I just checked the numbers and Sione even made more metres per run then Egan did last season(slightly).
Given there age Egan probably has more room for improvement but right now its hard not to see Sione as the best option IMO.
I'm all in on Egan.
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