They’ve made the first perfect 10 start to an NRL season in 25 years but Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards has warned the Panthers aren't even close to playing to their full potential.
Penrith’s unbeaten 10-game run to start 2021 is the first time any club has amassed such a winning streak at the beginning of the year since the Sydney Roosters in 1996 – who ironically featured the Panthers' current coach Ivan Cleary at fullback.
"I think the good thing is we’re obviously winning now but we’re definitely not satisfied with how we’re playing," Edwards told NRL.com.
"We have so many things to work on week-in and week-out and we are far from our best which is the pleasing thing. There is still a long way to go."
As much as Penrith’s dazzling play with the ball has excited fans this season, it is their defence that deserves the most recognition.
The Panthers have conceded only 72 points, including three shutouts. Melbourne are the next-best defensive outfit with 126 points conceded.
Defence wins premierships and it was a lesson the Panthers learned in last year’s grand final loss to the Storm after they were blown off the park early.
Every try from Round 10
The Panthers added a steely resolve to their team with a physical training camp in the preseason that featured an island getaway with boxing sessions and heavy contact work.
"The defensive side of the ball we really value. We take a lot more pride in that than our attack," Edwards said.
"Yeah, it was important [the island camp]. There was no specific focus going into it but we’re buying into it and focusing on certain things week-in, week-out which is really important.
"Not that we needed to get tougher, we just needed to find a little edge on certain areas that we missed the mark on last year. For us to improve that is what we need to get better at."
The Panthers head to Dubbo this weekend to face a South Sydney side many consider to be among the three or four teams capable of challenging Penrith come finals time.
Latrell Mitchell will return from suspension for the Rabbitohs and Edwards said it would be good to face South Sydney near full strength.
"They’re a really good team, we will have to be better than we were [in the 48-12 win over Titans on Sunday]," Edwards said.
"It’s a chance to defend those guys so we’re going to have to do some tough work against them. They’re a quality outfit and I think they get Latrell back so they’re a better side with him in it, so we’re really looking forward to it and it’s a big test."
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