Consecutive frustrating losses have seen the Penrith Panthers slip outside of the NRL top eight and it's been difficult to dredge any positives from their game in the last fortnight but if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture it's plain to see that Penrith are in the best position of any of the Sydney-based NRL clubs.
In the new structure of reserve grades there's no truly accurate way to compare teams from all around the nation (and NZ) on a table based on competition points, but it's certain possible for only Sydney teams.
We've combined the competition points for all Sydney based teams over NSW Cup, Holden Cup and the NRL and while most teams are punching somewhat close to the average there are some notable points.
- Despite sitting outside the NRL Top 8, Penrith are by far and away the leaders on the FansUnite Club Championship ladder
- Penrith are the only team to have accrued 20 or more competition points in a single competition (20pts in NSW Cup; 22pts in Holden Cup)
- St George Illawarra might be the most successful Sydney team in the NRL but their poor records in reserve grades are dragging them down
- Parramatta's woes extend well beyond the NRL, with none of their three squad earning more than 8pts
Ivan Cleary and Gus Gould have long heralded a 5-year plan since their arrival but no matter whether or not that schedule comes to fruition there is no doubt that the future is bright for the Penrith Panthers, with reserve grade trophies surely to continue flowing in after Toyota Cup (now Holden Cup) success in 2013 and NSW Cup triumph in 2014.
Which player from Penrith's NSW or Holden Cup squads are you most excited to see make the transition into the NRL in the coming seasons?