When added to their 42-0 win over the Bulldogs in round 26 last year, they’ve now gone three consecutive regular season matches without conceding a point, the first side to do so since the Roosters in 1919.
“We value it, we’ve worked really hard at it, our defensive coach Cameron Ciraldo does a great job,” Cleary said after the match.
“When I first came back to the club in 2019 we changed the system quite a bit, and that took a bit of time, but under Cameron’s tutelage it’s really developing nicely.
“It all rolls into one, if we’re dominating field position and possession then defence becomes a lot easier.”
In atrocious conditions at Bankwest Stadium, the Panthers managed to complete 86 percent of their sets, and had an incredible 20 extra sets of six compared to the Bulldogs.
But Cleary noted the conditions actually helped their defence.
“Today was really slow rucks, it was painfully slow, which makes it a bit easier to defend,” he explained.
“But there’s some things we need to fix up, we’ll do that again this week, it’s a short week, we’re playing the Storm, so we’re going to get tested this week.”
Penrith may be forced to face the Storm without halfback and captain Nathan Cleary, who left the field in the 70th minute after a high shot from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Ivan conceded after the match that Nathan would have to pass all the concussion protocols during the week, but said the early signs are positive.
“He’s good actually,” Ivan said.
“He passed his SCAT test, I’m not a doctor, but all the signs at the moment are actually pretty good.”
Cleary, though, wouldn’t be drawn on the hit that left Nathan nursing a sore head.
“I think everyone saw what happened, I’ll leave it at that.”
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