I firmly believe the Panthers will win the 2021 Premiership. I’m the first to admit I’m biased but there are several reasons why I think this way. For a start, Penrith have all the major positions covered.
In Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, the Panthers have arguably the best halves pairing in the competition.
Hooker Api Koroisau is a crafty and dangerous dummy half runner while up front, James Fisher-Harris has gone to another level and is now one of the premier props in the competition.
In the second-row, Viliame Kikau is a damaging runner of the football especially out wide, the man knows how to tackle too.
In the backs, Stephen Crichton is already a player who can makes things happen and he’s still growing. While Brian To’o is a pocket rocket who makes plenty of metres in kick returns and is difficult to bring down.
I know the side has lost some experience in the forwards but the club is still looking for another specialist prop, or two, to fill those final two positions in the club’s Top 30 full-time roster.
Now there are a lot of Naysayers out there who seem to think last year was just one big fluke and are paying the team little or no respect. However, it won’t be that sort of talk which will inspire the Panthers this season. To them it’s just outside noise.
It will be the desire to go one better and the belief that they can do so, that will drive them to claim the ultimate prize in October.
What game am I looking forward to…
The Warriors v Titans on Saturday afternoon. Both sides will be in and around that eighth spot and it will be interesting to see which team can gain the upper hand in what should be an entertaining tussle.
My Top 8 prediction…
1. Penrith 2. Melbourne 3. Canberra 4. South Sydney 5. Parramatta 6. Sydney Roosters 7. Gold Coast 8. Wests Tigers 9. New Zealand 10. Newcastle 11. North Queensland 12. Canterbury-Bankstown 13. Cronulla-Sutherland 14. Brisbane 15. St George Illawarra.
And the wooden spoon goes to… Manly Sea-Eagles – Unfortunately the boys from the Northern Beaches will collect their first wooden spoon in the club’s history.
The final word… Last Sunday a friend of mine emailed me a link to a rugby league article he wanted me to read. I opened it and it was something called ‘What’s the Buzz’.
So I started reading it and then stopped halfway through, “Oh wow,” I thought to myself, “What fresh hell is this?”
Needless to say I won’t be reading that rubbish anymore!
Peter Lang is an experienced writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades.