Penrith Panthers NRL report card

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 26:  Peter Wallace of the Panthers appeals to the referee after a non try decision against the Panthers during the round 8 NRL match between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Remondis Stadium on April 26, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 26: Peter Wallace of the Panthers appeals to the referee after a non try decision against the Panthers during the round 8 NRL match between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Remondis Stadium on April 26, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 21:  Dean Whare of the Panthers scores a try in the tackle of Maurice Blair during the round seven NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Gold Coast Titans at Sportingbet Stadium on April 21, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 21: Dean Whare of the Panthers scores a try in the tackle of Maurice Blair during the round seven NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Gold Coast Titans at Sportingbet Stadium on April 21, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

SPORT: Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium, Bruce.  panthers players Jamie Soward and Matt Moylan celebrate Moylan's try. .  18th May 2014. Photo by Melissa Adams of The Canberra Times.

SPORT: Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium, Bruce. panthers players Jamie Soward and Matt Moylan celebrate Moylan's try. . 18th May 2014. Photo by Melissa Adams of The Canberra Times.

Best performance

It's hard to go past the 18-16 win against the Canterbury Bulldogs in round three. After a heartbreaking loss to the Storm the week before, Ivan Cleary's men stood up against one of the NRL heavyweights. Matt Moylan's sideline conversion to win the game was the icing on the cake.

Worst performance

No doubt; the 32-16 loss to local rivals Parramatta in round four. The Panthers were never in the game and were out-muscled by the resurgent Eels. They have a chance to make amends in their next outing.

Best player

In a photo finish, I think Dean Whare has been the Panthers' best to start the year. Mr Reliable has been outstanding on the right edge and was rewarded with selection in the New Zealand Test team.

Most improved

Take your pick out of Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Adam Docker. These three have taken their game to a new level in 2014.

Ones to watch

The Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace halves combination is only going to get better with time.

Expect the experienced duo to step it up heading into the finals.

Also expect a big return from Elijah Taylor after his great start to the year.

James Segeyaro, Jamal Idris and Sika Manu are also ones to watch heading into the business end of the season.

Mid-year ratings

Halves combination: A solid start from the Wallace-Soward combination after early injuries.

B+

Coaching: Ivan Cleary has juggled injuries and disruption and have his team in the majority of games this year. He also managed to blood young gun Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

A

Attack:The best is yet to come from the Panthers offence, especially as the halves find their rhythm.

B

Defence: Fourth-best in NRL and very strong across the park.

A

Consistency:The win-loss sequence was finally broken at the weekend. Consecutive wins are the key to a spot in the top four

C

Coach Ivan Cleary says:

To win at Newcastle and at Canberra in consecutive weeks gives us a bit of confidence to win on the road.

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