Even though losing the GF, the improvement in Penrith this year, is competing for every play, whether in attack and especially in defense, you'll often see the tackles and also dragging back a lot from this defense, the roster turn over helped too, moving on guys like DWZ, Waqa, RCG, helped as they seemed to have reached a Plateau somewhat, in a lot of their effort areas, but especially having a group of young guys coming through last year for the 2nd half of the year, seemed to be winning games last year pretty effortlessly, i saw this in the last round against the knights, where scoring at will, and defending with force, which carried all thru this season, Tetevano had strong impact off the bench, which helped alongside Leota, these guys seem to keep the ferocious momentum from JFH and Tamou continue, something a lot of other sides struggled with from their bench, Penrith had that cycle well drilled, for example often sides like Canberra you could tell when Papali was off the field, with the panthers it wasn't a focus on one hitman, and since that was working, Cleary, Api and Luai had space to play, and injecting the backs and especially edge 2nd rowers, its seemed every play meant they could gain an advantage, if they had the ball, attacking out wide, or without it driving the opposition back as much as possible, i never seen them do this so consistently as much as this year, unfortunately even though they did it in the GF, the handling errors at key moments cost them, and after watching the replay, the on field referee was actually pretty sound, it was the bunker referee that was constantly overturning suttons decisions, and butchering a few calls, regarding not only the tries but the on field 50/50s.I’m overseas atm and was only keeping tabs on Parra games. I thought I’d check in on the finals and was shocked to see Penrith in the gf. Did a bit of research and they have been killing it after coming back from covid. What’s the go? Their team looks pretty much like the same team from last year.
But panthers did make errors which i duely blame that as the reason, not the officiating. Too erratic in the 1st half, but dangerous in the 2nd. A great season overall, hopefully next season is the same with a better ending