Forty-six thousand, one hundred and sixty-eight.
That's the magical number Panthers fans will be hoping to beat on Saturday night as their team takes on the Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium in a Preliminary Final.
After chalking up countless on-field records over the past three seasons, Penrith are on the verge of another major milestone this weekend with the chance to record their biggest crowd attendance in over 20 years for a non Grand-Final fixture.
The home team for Saturday's grand final qualifier against the Rabbitohs, Penrith will need to surpass the official figure of 46,168 they recorded back in 2014 during their Preliminary Final against the Bulldogs to achieve their biggest home crowd since taking part in a double-header at the Olympic stadium in 2001, which saw 54,833 fans in attendance to watch the Panthers, Eels, Roosters and Wests Tigers.
With South Sydney's strong supporter base also set to turn out in numbers for the rematch of last year's Grand Final, there's every chance Saturday's crowd number could better that figure from 2014 as fans and members across the game enjoy a return to live action after two heavily interrupted seasons in 2020 and 2021.
With reduced crowd capacity in 2020 as a result of the COVID pandemic, the Panthers' biggest home crowd attendance that year came in the Grand Final against the Storm, which was played in front of just 37,303 fans. The following year, after a mid-season relocation to Queensland, a crowd of 39,322 was in attendance at Suncorp Stadium to witness the Panthers triumph over the Rabbitohs.
"Our fans have been unbelievable this season – they’ve turned up in droves week in, week out," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said. "We’re hoping as many Panthers members and fans can turn up to Accor Stadium on Saturday night to cheer us on.
"We understand it has been South Sydney’s home throughout the regular season, but we have the opportunity to make it our home on Saturday night – hopefully there’s a sea of black.
"We’ve played some big games at Accor Stadium over the past couple of seasons, and it’ll be great to play there in front of another capacity crowd this week."
Panthers v Rabbitohs: Finals Week 3
With just one game separating the Panthers and Rabbitohs for their chance at glory, which team will step up and move on to the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final?
Tickets are selling fast, so be there at Accor Stadium to cheer on your team — secure your seat at nrl.com/tickets.