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NRL: Hunger there says Cleary

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has revealed the hunger for success within the club is stronger than ever as they look to build on their 2021 grand final win.

The Panthers beat South Sydney in last season's big dance and they are priced at 9/2 to go on and win another premiership in the season ahead.

Hunger is there

After winning the grand final last year it has been suggested the Panthers may lose their edge in the new season, but Cleary insists that will not be the case.

He accepts 2022 is a new year and everyone starts again but says his players remain driven to achieve even more success in the seasons to come.

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"You have a certain belief and confidence that comes with that (winning the premiership)," Cleary told reporters. "In terms of how hungry we are as a team, that hasn't changed."

Top stars missing

The Panthers begin the season against Manly on Thursday night but the side will have a fresh look to it following a number of high profile departures.

Tyrone May, Kurt Capewell, Tevita Pangai, Paul Momirovski, Matt Burton and Brent Naden have all left but Cleary has faith in his current crop.

Backrower Izack Tago has switched into the centres to help fill the void left by Burton and Momirovski leaving and Cleary is backing him to step up.

"It's a lot to lose in one go," Cleary said. "But it's just the challenge we have, in trying to manipulate the current squad or bring new guys through.

"It (the move to the centres) happened by accident really. I quite like young backrowers entering first grade in the centres if they have that athletic nature.

"It's a nice way to get a guy used to playing 80 minutes in first grade without the intensity of back row."

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