The Penrith Panthers are on a mission to make history in the NRL as they aim to achieve a three-peat in the Grand Final. No team has accomplished this feat in the NRL era since the Parramatta Eels secured successive victories in 1981, 1982, and 1983. The Panthers winning a third consecutive premiership would solidify their status as one of the greatest teams in the sport’s history. Previous teams such as Canterbury (1984, 1985), Canberra (1989, 1990), Brisbane (1992, 1993), and the Sydney Roosters (2018, 2019) have come close to achieving a three-peat but fell short.
While the prospect of a three-peat is on their minds, the Panthers are adopting the mentality of “one in a row” as emphasised by their coach, Ivan Cleary. The team understands that their past successes do not guarantee future accomplishments and they will need to perform at their best in the upcoming weeks. Kangaroos second-rower Liam Martin expressed the team’s awareness of the challenges ahead and their determination to rise to the occasion.
During their pre-finals camp on the Gold Coast, the Panthers embraced the theme of “Hunting History” for the 2023 season. This follows their successful campaigns centered around “Everest” and “Top Gun” in previous years. The Panthers‘ 2021 premiership was symbolised by the theme of “Everest,” which represented their climb to the top after the disappointment of losing the 2020 Grand Final. The following year, they drew inspiration from the movie sequel Top Gun: Maverick for their back-to-back premiership pursuit. The team incorporated Top Gun-themed posters with motivating slogans into their dressing room.
Martin further elaborated on the team’s mindset, stating that they are currently focused on hunting history through their quest for a three-peat. Although they didn’t initially dwell on the concept, they discussed it more extensively during their recent camp. The Panthers are determined to strike a balance between focusing on their performance on the field and acknowledging the significance of their historical pursuit.
Winning the JJ Giltinan Shield as minor premiers by defeating North Queensland, the Panthers now have their sights set on retaining the Provan-Summons Trophy. While acknowledging the importance of finishing at the top in the regular season, Martin emphasised that this achievement won’t mean much if they don’t follow through in the finals. The Panthers are aware of the need to convert their success into a Grand Final victory.
In recognition of their outstanding performances, Martin received the NSWRL True Blue award for his contributions in this year’s State of Origin series, while Panthers winger Brian To’o was honored with the Brad Fittler Medal. Martin, seen as one of the best second-rowers in the game, has embraced a leadership role within the team this season. Despite considering himself a young player who enjoys having fun with his teammates, he has recognised the importance of maturity and taking on a leadership role both on and off the field. The representative honors bestowed upon him have further strengthened his growth in this capacity.