Penrith have qualified for their second NRL Grand Final. Here’s how they got to the big dance…
Round 1: Cowboys no match for Panthers
Penrith open their 2021 campaign with a convincing 24-0 win over the Cowboys at BlueBet Stadium. The Panthers score four tries to none in the victory.
Round 2: Panthers thrash dogs in the wet
In atrocious conditions at Bankwest Stadium, the Panthers keep their opposition scoreless for a second straight week, beating the Bulldogs 28-0.
Round 3: Hand of Kikau
Kurt Capewell scores a late try and Viliame Kikau produces an incredible defensive moment on the bell, as Penrith prevail 12-10 over Melbourne.
Round 4: Sea Eagles offer little at Brookvale
The Panthers blow Manly away 46-6 at Brookvale, with Brian To’o and Viliame Kikau both grabbing doubles. The Panthers took a 22-6 lead into half-time.
Round 5: ‘Arrogant’ calls after Penrith thrash Canberra
In a controversial and at times fiery affair at the foot of the Mountains, Penrith easily account for Ricky Stuart’s Canberra Raiders 30-10.
Round 6: Cleary grabs two point field goal
The Panthers are far from convincing against lowly Brisbane but still get the job done, leaving Suncorp Stadium with a 20-12 victory. Nathan Cleary kicks the first two point field goal of his career.
Round 7: Panthers extend winning run
Stephen Crichton scores early but an arm wrestle ensues, with Penrith eventually proving too good for Newcastle, winning 24-6 at BlueBet Stadium.
Round 8: Panthers return to Bathurst
Manly show some fight but Penrith are never really not in control in Bathurst. The Panthers eventually run out 28-16 winners in front of 5,798 fans.
Round 9: Sharks blown away
Penrith offer Cronulla a footballing lesson with a 48-0 demolition at BlueBet Stadium. Charlie Staines grabs a hat-trick in the win.
Round 10: Magic Panthers thrash Titans
The Panthers put on a show for Magic Round. Nathan Cleary scores three tries and kicks eight goals in a 48-12 thrashing of the Gold Coast.
Round 11: Rubbish Rabbits smashed
The Panthers smash a woeful South Sydney in Dubbo. Nathan Cleary scores after three minutes and the tries keep coming in a 56-12 demolition.
Round 12: That’s a dozen wins on the trot
The Panthers make it 12 wins in a row, with a 30-4 Indigenous Round victory over Canterbury at BlueBet Stadium. Charlie Staines grabs a double.
Round 13: Origin starts to bite
Tigers fans are delirious after they beat a second-string Penrith side 26-6 at Leichhardt Oval, as the State of Origin period begins to take hold.
Round 14: Sharks by a point
A late Shaun Johnson field goal breaks an 18-all deadline and seals a one-point win for Cronulla, as the Panthers record back-to-back defeats.
Round 15: Panthers rattled early
After falling behind 12-0 early, Penrith click into gear and take a 22-12 lead into half-time against the Roosters. The Panthers eventually win 38-12.
Round 16: Burton’s boot gets Penrith home
Matt Burton kicks a late field goal to give Penrith a 13-12 win over Parramatta in front of an empty BlueBet Stadium, as the COVID lockdown begins.
Round 18: QLD relocation starts with a bang
The NRL relocates to QLD, and Penrith start the period away from home with a 30-16 defeat of the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Round 19: Panthers sneak home
Brisbane pushes Penrith to the championship minutes, but in the end the Panthers get home 18-12 after leading 4-0 at the half-time break.
Round 20: Storm inflict Penrith’s biggest loss
Chaos surrounds what should have been a blockbuster, as a Penrith side down on troops loses 37-10 to Melbourne in a rescheduled match-up.
Round 21: Burto magic helps Panthers home
Penrith bounce back into form with a hard-fought 20-14 win over the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium. Matt Burton has one of his best games of the year.
Round 22: Panthers demolish Dragons
Brent Naden and Dylan Edwards both score doubles as Penrith easily account for the Dragons, running out 34-16 winners.
Round 23: Panthers too good for Bunnies
Penrith concede two early tries, but eventually change the momentum and beat South Sydney 25-12. Nathan Cleary and Isaah Yeo are outstanding.
Round 24: Panthers win battle of the big cats
Penrith’s forwards stand up to get the job done 30-16 over the Wests Tigers in an uninspiring match in Redcliffe in front of 5,351 fans.
Round 25: To’o good on the Gold Coast
The Panthers take advantage of a Parramatta side missing several key stars, running out 40-6 winners on the Gold Coast. Brian To’o scores a hat-trick.
Finals Week 1: Rabbitohs stun Panthers
The Finals Series is turned on its head when Souths spring a major upset, beating Penrith 16-10 in Townsville. The Panthers have several chances to level the game late, but can’t get the job done.
Finals Week 2: Panthers edge Eels in a belter
In one of the great Finals games of all-time, Penrith down arch rivals Parramatta 8-6. In a game ultimately rocked by controversy, Penrith’s defence proves the key in the low-scoring contest.
Finals Week 3: Panthers weather the Storm
Penrith qualify for their second straight Grand Final after terrorising Melbourne with brutal defence. Ivan Cleary’s side survives a classic late Storm charge to win 10-6 in one of the games of the year.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.