Squad Breakdown: Penrith Panthers SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at the Penrith Panthers SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 NRL season.

NRL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

Penrith will seek to become back-to-back premiership winners in 2022, and they’ll be every chance having sustained the majority of their squad.

The spine remains the same which is vital, while their seemingly endless production line of talented juniors will come into the fold throughout the year.

As tends to be the case, with success comes SuperCoach prowess, and the Panthers are loaded with options.

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They have a fairly decent draw to start the year, but a slightly awkward one at that, with games against the Sea Eagles (H), Dragons (A), Knights (H), Rabbitohs (H), Bulldogs (A).

With our predicted teams, for SuperCoach purposes we’ve included any players returning from injury/suspension in the first three rounds in the starting line-up.

This combines both the likely starting teams and best 17s, as initial price changes occur after Round 3.

Let’s take a look at the Panthers’ SuperCoach prospects to begin the new season.

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1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Izack Tago 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo

Bench: 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Matt Eisenhuth 16. Scott Sorensen 17. Spencer Leniu

Injuries/suspensions: Nathan Cleary (Shoulder, Round 1).

Analysis: Not a lot of conjecture here, with boom rookie Izack Tago likely to slot into the vacant centre role.

The only possible change I see is if Ivan Cleary opted for another utility back such as Taylan May on the bench as injury coverage in the backline. Kurt Capewell provided this luxury last season.

Robert Jennings will push Charlie Staines for a wing role also.

Full squad: Eddie Blacker (2022), Nathan Cleary (2024), Christian Crichton (2022), Stephen Crichton (2023), Dylan Edwards (2022), Matt Eisenhuth (2022), Kurt Falls (2022), James Fisher-Harris (2026), J’maine Hopgood (2022), Robert Jennings (2022), Mitch Kenny (2024), Viliame Kikau (2022), Apisai Koroisau (2022), Spencer Leniu (2023), Moses Leota (2024), Jarome Luai (2024), Liam Martin (2023), Taylan May (2022), Sean O’Sullivan (2022), Jaeman Salmon (2022), Chris Smith (2022), Lindsay Smith (2022), Scott Sorensen (2023), Charlie Staines (2023), Izack Tago (2023), Brian To’o (2023), Isaah Yeo (2024)

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Nathan Cleary // 949,600 // HFB // 2021 Ave: 108.3

The talk of the pre-season following off-season shoulder surgery, will he or won’t he play round 1?

I’m approaching it this way, if he’s named/plays, Penrith are obviously extremely confident in his body.

There’s no way they’d risk aggravation of the injury in the season opener if there was any doubt.

If he does play, he’s not a must-have as I’ve seen suggested over and over again.

The fact is that he’s priced on a sublime 108 point average, meaning there’s every chance of regression and a price drop.

That being said, if he does play I find it very hard to leave him out of my squad, especially when considering he’s a near lock skipper option almost every week until we can afford Tommy Turbo.

He’s one of the best SuperCoach point accumulators I’ve seen, between repeat sets, assists, tries from support play, goal-kicking, he’s got it all.

There’s no real need to break down into further detail, we know what he’s capable of and what he’ll produce.

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Brian To’o // $736,500 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 84.0

To’o is an extremely interesting proposition to start the year.

A winger priced at $736k, with last season’s premiers, you couldn’t could you?

It’s a hard price to stomach, but SuperCoach has changed in recent years (we may have touched on this from time-to-time on the podcast…).

The days of paying up for forwards is over, the modern game is chasing the high ceiling players.

To’o is the best CTW worker in the game with a phenomenal 42 base per game, in context, I consider any CTW basing over 30 extremely solid.

Most people will wait on an inevitable price drop, but there’s no guarantee it’ll come.

He could easily match or better his average this season, making him a very difficult watch for non-owners.

All that being said, I’m still finding it hard to fit him in my cap as I think he’s pretty close to max price to start the year.

I’ll be looking for the $400-500k options with nice draws to start the year to hopefully open up in style, before being turned into To’o down the track.

Most appealing to me is his current 12% ownership…

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Liam Martin // $428,500 // 2RF // 2021 Ave: 48.9

Martin isn’t a player I thought I’d be considering, but it’s not hard to make a case for him.

I’m banking on him playing an 80 minute role on the right edge outside Cleary with Kurt Capewell gone.

He averaged 58 minutes per game last year, so a 22 minute increase is significant.

The 80 minute role isn’t assured though, so proceed with some caution.

He runs a terrific line, yet only scored three tries last season, I’m banking on him getting over more often this year.

His 38 base per game is solid without being great, but again, more time should equate to more base.

I rate him highly as a footballer and believe he can increase significantly this season if the extra game time eventuates.

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Jarome Luai // $515,600 // 5-8 // 2021 Ave: 58.8

People are struggling to lock in their halves, and Luai is 7% owned.

I personally won’t pick him, but it’s hard to ignore the fact he started last season with scores of 79, 94, 46 (Storm), 128, 79, 81, 65, 57 and 81.

During that period people were calling him a must-have, before he fell off the cliff almost out of nowhere.

His base of 21 isn’t great, but he generally makes up for it in attack.

Not for me, but one that I do think is flying under the radar and warrants consideration.

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Izack Tago // $287,900 // CTW-2RF // 2021 Ave: 32.8

In the all-important left edge spot at Penrith that was a gold mine for Matt Burton last season.

Tago looks the package at centre, he’s hard-running, offloads, busts tackles and will score/assist plenty of tries in that role.

Add in dual CTW-2RF status and we’re onto a winner.

Lock him in, and play him in 17s.

Taylan May // $252,500 // CTW // 2021 Ave: 48

May is pushing for a starting wing spot with Staines and Jennings, and while he appears slightly behind on the pecking order, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish the season as a starter. One to monitor.

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James Fisher-Harris // $543,100 // FRF // 2021 Ave: 62.0

No knock on the Fish, but as per above, I don’t think FRF is the position to spend up on.

Payne Haas is a better buy in my opinion for $50k more, otherwise I’d be looking at cheaper options who can do a similar job.

His workrate is excellent, but Ivan Cleary tends to play around with his minutes fairly often which makes him hard to catch at his SuperCoach best.

He averaged 62 minutes last season and I don’t see him increasing that.

He won’t let you down, but he doesn’t have the upside for me.

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