It's been a long opening two months to the season for Penrith and now that they're starting to welcome back some of their big names from injures they absolutely have to start winning matches. No longer can a significant injury toll be used as an excuse for lack of results despite quality performances.
Round 9 was the last loss that Penrith will be able to justify away to injury. Jamie Soward and Elijah Taylor were late inclusions, and their presence certainly helped the Panthers almost come away with victory, and now James Segeyaro and Sika Manu have been named to return in Round 10.
The team is starting to take shape and is now somewhat recognisable as the team that was tipped to be entrenched in the Top Four for most of the season.
While a 4-5 record to start the season is by no means horrible, particularly given the situation, Penrith will need to capitalise on every available point from now on as we head into the most tumultuous part of the year.
Penrith will be lucky in that they won't be decimated by State of Origin this year and for that reason wins over the next 9 weeks are at a premium. The first third of the year has come to a close and the Panthers absolutely need to be the team at the top of the crop come the end of the second third, laying a platform from which they can launch a Premiership offensive.
Returning names should see the squad return to the kind of form that saw them demolish the Titans 40-0 in Round 2, and those that tipped Penrith for great things in 2015 will soon be reminded of just why they were so optimistic.
At what stage to matches become 'must wins' for Penrith?