The Broncos lost twice to Penrith last season but that fate befell plenty of teams in 2021 and there was merit in both performances.
An eight-point loss in round six and a six-point loss in round 19 ranked as two of the Broncos' best showings in a season which saw them win just seven games on their way to finishing 14th.
Hopes were high of a new dawn at Red Hill in 2022 with Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capewell joining a roster that already boasted Payne Haas and Kotoni Staggs but three straight losses have taken the shine off a promising 2-0 start.
Examinations don't come much tougher than a trip Fortress Penrith and the Broncos can expect a hostile reception from a fan base already setting their sights on another premiership on the back of a dominant 5-0 start.
Sportsbet Betting preview: Panthers v Broncos
Panthers: The Panthers are 1-17 with no late changes. Chris Smith was the last man cut an hour before kick-off and Robert Jennings is 18th man. It's the third successive week the premiers have fielded the same 17 as they look to build on their imposing 5-0 start to their title defence.
Broncos: Herbie Farnworth was ruled out on Thursday with a leg cork and his place in the centres is taken by Delouise Hoeter, who makes his Broncos debut.
Payne Haas was not considered following the NRL’s decision to impose sanctions for his involvement in an incident last month with team-mate Albert Kelly.
Haas' place in the front row will be taken by Corey Jensen with Rhys Kennedy joining the interchange bench. Corey Oates (ankle) and Adam Reynolds (knee) are right to play after taking knocks last week.
Match: Panthers v Broncos
Round 6 -
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan EdwardsFullback for Broncos is number 1 Tesi Niu
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie StainesWinger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack TagoCentre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen CrichtonCentre for Broncos is number 19 Delouise Hoeter
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Taylan MayWinger for Broncos is number 5 Selwyn Cobbo
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Billy Walters
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Broncos is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Panthers is number 8 Matthew EisenhuthProp for Broncos is number 8 Keenan Palasia
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Broncos is number 10 Corey Jensen
2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Kurt Capewell
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Broncos is number 13 Kobe Hetherington
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch KennyInterchange for Broncos is number 14 Ryan James
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott SorensenInterchange for Broncos is number 15 Rhys Kennedy
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer LeniuInterchange for Broncos is number 16 Teui Robati
Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman SalmonInterchange for Broncos is number 17 Cory Paix
Replacement for Panthers is number 18 Robert JenningsReplacement for Broncos is number 18 Tyson Gamble
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Darian Furner
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Nathan Cleary v Adam Reynolds: Two of the NRL's gun playmakers square off for the first time since the 2021 decider when Cleary took home the Clive Churchill Medal and a premiership ring while Reynolds farewelled Redfern with 'what ifs' and 'maybes' after missing a late conversion attempt to level the scores. Cleary has returned in style from off-season shoulder surgery and has the unbeaten Panthers humming. Reynolds is taking time to settle in to his new surroundings and is yet to really put his stamp on a game but a massive Good Friday showdown at Penrith provides the perfect stage for him to shine.
The Broncos will need to be spot on with their ball control and discipline if they are to trouble the Panthers. Across the first five rounds the Broncos have committed too many errors, with Selwyn Cobbo (19) and Kotoni Staggs (12) sitting first and third in that category. Panthers centre Izack Tago has conceded more penalties than any other player so far this season with seven.