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2015 Season

Grand Final Celebrations

There were plenty of on field celebrations following today's 16 point NYC Grand Final victory.

Post Grand Final: Cameron Ciraldo

Panthers NYC coach Cameron Ciraldo reflects on winning the Holden Cup in his rookie year as a head coach.

Match H’lights: NYC Grand Final

Check out all the tries as the NYC Panthers roll Manly to claim the 2015 Holden Cup.

Team Song: NYC Grand Final

See the Panthers belt out the team song after winning the Holden Cup title.

NYC Grand Final Highlights

The Panthers have claimed the 2015 Holden Cup Premiership with a 34-18 defeat over the Manly Sea Eagles.

Young Panthers win Holden Cup

The Penrith Panthers NYC side has claimed the 2015 Holden Cup with a 34-18 victory over Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Easy schedule, lack of talent, puts Panthers on top

Through 17 rounds of football, the Panthers find themselves sitting in first place on the NRL ladder. They’ve won 10 games, lost 5, and have yet to lose consecutively all season. Naturally when an unexpected challenger reaches the top of the mountain this late in the season some questions need to be asked: What systematical flaw could favour a team most of us projected to finish outside the 8? Who are the 10 teams they beat to put themselves in this position? If they were a genuine contender, why didn’t they have a single player selected to play rep footy? The problem with looking back at a schedule months after the games take place is we lose any sense of context. To say Penrith’s path to first place has been softened by a weak schedule would be removing all context from what took place in the early rounds of the season, and would also downplay one of the greatest things about the NRL, competitive balance. Going back as far as round 2, Penrith lost a nail-biter to a full-strength Melbourne Storm (18-17) at Aami Park despite the absence of Five-Eighth, Jamie Soward. This could have gone either way and a controversial forward pass ruling which denied Kevin Naiqama his 3rd try of the evening may have been the difference. The following week Penrith were without halfback Peter Wallace and the NRL’s most productive winger Josh Mansour for a clash with the Bulldogs who in round 3, enjoyed the services of captain Michael Ennis, state of origin halves pairing Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds, as well as an intact forward pack and state of origin centre Josh Morris. This game was won after the siren with Matt Moylan knocking one over from the sideline. After continuing the WL trend with games in torrential conditions against Canberra and South Sydney, Penrith hosted the Gold Coast Titans. Sure, in round 17 a win against the Gold Coast Titan seems irrelevant, but in round 7 this was a competition leading 6-1 side that enjoyed wins over the Storm, Cowboys and Broncos. One week later Penrith visited what might be the closest thing we’ve seen to a full-strength Sharks side in the 2014 season. It was another close loss in an ugly contest, but there was plenty of talent lining up on the other side of the pitch and you’d have to think if it weren’t for injuries and rep duties, that Sharks team Penrith saw in round 8 is a shoe-in for finals football. Penrith have since won 6 of their last 7, going undefeated during the origin survivor rounds, and it’s no wonder. The team hasn’t been effected by the representative rounds anywhere near as much as their opponents. But do we fault the system that’s been in place for decades now? Or credit the decision makers at Penrith for recognising it’s flaws and constructing a side built to withstand what has become a death trap for some of the NRL’s heavyweights. Let’s pretend for a second that Dean Whare was eligible for a blues jumper, are we really going to say Josh Dugan still gets the nod over someone who’s spent the last two seasons at Penrith making the position his own, receiving praise from peers around the league throughout the process? It’s hard to believe. So to could be said for a do-it all back rower like Lewis Brown, who surely made a bigger impact for his club this season than the likes of Trent Merrin or Luke Lewis. And we say all this without mentioning Jamal Idris, who had a legitimate claim for a blues jumper prior to his leave of absence. And of course, Josh Mansour, he might be the best winger in the NRL and he was barely even discussed as an option for the blues. It’s not a lack of origin-caliber talent that helped the Panthers through this shakey stretch of NRL football, it’s a lack of origin-eligible talent, and there’s a big difference when we’re making a case for the legitimacy of a teams contention. Saying that a mediocre roster got Penrith to where they are now, would be a huge disservice to coach Ivan Cleary’s recruitment of Kiwi internationals, and wouldn’t even begin to explain how the “no-name Panthers” became genuine title contenders. The post Easy schedule, lack of talent, puts Panthers on top appeared first on Black Cat Report.

Black Cat Podcast – The Bottom Feeders

This week on the podcast I talk Panthers preseason training and preview the upcoming year for the Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders. Later in the show I explain why one of the big name Panthers will be leaving the club at the end of 2015 – whether we like it or not. Subscribe to the Black Cat Podcast on iTunes. The post Black Cat Podcast – The Bottom Feeders appeared first on Black Cat Report.

NYC Academic Team of the Year

Panthers prop Oliver Clark is rewarded for his off-field studies by being named in the NYC Academic Team of the Year.

Holden Cup Grand Final: Penrith Panthers vs Manly Sea Eagles

Penrith Panthers will go in as hot favourites to win the 2015 Holden Cup when they face Manly Sea Eagles in an "all Sydney" Grand Final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. When the two teams met in the first week...