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Season Preview - Penrith Panthers
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Ins: Jamal Idris (Titans), Brent Kite (Sea Eagles), Kevin Naiqama (Knights), Tyrone Peachey (Sharks), Jamie Soward (London), Shaun Spence (Tigers), Elijah Taylor (Warriors), Peter Wallace (Broncos).

Outs: Blake Austin (Tigers), Cameron Ciraldo (Retired), Lachlan Coote (Cowboys), Toby Evans (Eels), Danny Galea (Widnes), Mose Masoe (St Helens), Clint Newton (Knights), Kyle O’Donnell (Raiders), Travis Robinson (Storm), Brad Tighe (Titans), Luke Walsh (St Helens).

2013 Record – 10th, 26 points (11 wins, 13 losses).

Stat Rankings:

Attack: =9th, 20.63  ppg

Defence: 12th, 22.17 ppg

Marquee Man: Ivan Cleary – Signed from the Warriors in 2012, Cleary is seen as a career coach at the foot of the mountains. A canny operator and strict disciplinarian, Cleary has a talented squad at his disposal and pulls no punches when it comes to team selection. With recruitment complete, Cleary will look to get the best out of the roster he has assembled.

Under the Spotlight: Jamie Soward – Signed on a long term deal by the Panthers after spending the back end of 2013 in exile. A love him or hate him type of player, Soward is a talented playmaker on his day, however recent form suggests he may be well past his best. With competition for spots at an all-time high, Soward will need to assert his dominance early or risk spending the 2014 season languishing in Reserve grade.

Draw Analysis: Opportunity for a good start with 5 of first 7 matches at home.

Verdict:

Penrith’s 5 year plan appears to be heading in the right direction, with the mountain men gradually improving each season.

The signing of centre Jamal Idris adds a real strike weapon to a backline brimming with pace and complements a hard working forward pack with plenty of depth.

New halves pairing Soward and Wallace are no doubt a query, however if they can gel early then the Panthers may surprise a few and could well be the dark horse of 2014.

Penrith are attractively priced at $2.00 to Make the Top 8 with Betfair

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