Lang on League: Penrith Panthers mid-season report card

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A lot of has happened over the last seven weeks. The momentum shift into second gear has not really eventuated for the Panthers and they find themselves a little stuck between gears.

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into the mid- season report card.

Attack: Understandably the Penrith attack has been a little disjointed at times but with multiple halves pairings since Nathan Cleary’s injury it’s hardly surprising. The highlight of the season so far has been the 42-0 shutout of the Sharks in Round 12. Still the team has managed to score 178 points since Round 6 which is not too bad, however there’s still room for improvement. CURRENT GRADE: B. Quarter Grade: B

Peter Lang has issued his mid-season report card.

Defence: Despite conceding 102 points since Round 6 the Panthers still have the best defensive record in the competition. To keep the high-flying Sharks to nil was quite an achievement and helped the above stat look more impressive. Unfortunately conceding 22 unanswered points against the Dragons last round showed that the defence can also be a little brittle at times but with so many senior players missing, it’s all very understandable. CURRENT GRADE: A. Quarter Grade: B

Player performances: Dylan Edwards has again been the standout player since Round 6 and his unbelievable form was vindicated as he led the Dally M’s just before the voting went behind closed doors. Other players to shine have been Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo and Liam Henry. Yes, Henry has taken to first grade like a duck to water and his 80-minute, 78 tackle performance against the Dragons in round 13 was the ‘piece de resistance!’
CURRENT GRADE: B+. Quarter Grade: C+

Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards. Photo: NRL Photos.

Who needs to lift: It’s pretty obvious which players are struggling to produce their top form and the reasons vary. Izack Tago is now the senior centre at the club with Taylan May not available for the rest of the season and he has been incredibly disappointing of late. Tago really needs to lift and produce the type of form that earned him a $750,000 multi-year contract. Moses Leota has also been a little quiet of late, perhaps due to some niggling injuries while Sunia Turuva has simply forgotten where the tryline is.

Players to watch: Liam Henry and Jesse McLean. I’ve been a fan of Henry since he made his first-grade debut last year. For a big man he has an excellent motor and he’ll only get better. I also hope Jesse McLean gets more opportunities in first grade this season, this kid is the real deal and could nail down a wing spot for 2025 with Turuva leaving the club.

Coaching: This is obviously a tough one to judge because Ivan’s record speaks for itself. By his own admission however he does make mistakes. Most of them don’t cause any major issues. Although sometimes he does seem a little distracted with events off the field, the Taylan May case being one of them. Although I don’t think that’s enough to distract him from coaching the team to the best of his ability.

OVERALL GRADE: B. Quarter Grade: C+.

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