Another accolade for Panthers: Best sporting team in Australasia – and it’s bad news for AFL in cross-code wars


Penrith Panthers have struck a blow in the cross-code battle for bragging rights with the other football codes after being named Australasia’s best sporting team for 2023.

Platinum Asset Management and GAIN LINE Analytics have crunched the numbers on Australasia’s top sides and nominated Penrith as the cream of the crop after they racked up their third straight NRL premiership with their memorable Grand Final win over Brisbane.

Ivan Cleary’s team is widely credited with having one of the best talent development and retention programs in the country, which is reflected in their success at the elite level.

Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron was thrilled with being named the best of the best. 

Penrith celebrate a third consecutive NRL premiership in the change rooms. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“On behalf of everyone at Penrith Panthers, we are extremely proud of our recent success,” he said.

“I’d like to pay tribute to our head coach Ivan Cleary, whose exceptional leadership has truly eased the path for everyone’s role on the team. Our team is youthful in terms of player age, yet our success has allowed them to mature within the game, understanding the essential elements needed to achieve it. 

“Our first grade team stands as a testament to meticulous planning, robust development strategies, and the vital attribute of patience exhibited by our senior administrators. It’s crucial for us to maintain our resolve. 

“We’re fortunate to have a steadfast board and supportive senior management who’ve backed every step of our journey”.

The club nominated their charity, Panthers on the Prowl, to receive a $10,000 grant from Platinum in recognition of their success.

Their program works to provide meaningful education and healthy development opportunities for students in the wider Penrith area who are at risk of disengaging from school.

A-League men’s premiers Melbourne City, who have also registered three straight premierships (regular season league), were named the runner-up in the Platinum-GAIN LINE analysis.

Anne Hatchard. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Super Rugby franchise, the Crusaders, who won an incredible seventh title in a row, missed out on this honour with more weight to win-loss record than outcomes in knockout matches.

Fourth was the UNSW Wests Magpies men’s water polo team, who added the 2023 title to wins in 2019 and 2022 (the COVID pandemic wiped out 2020 and 2021). They have won six of the last eight national competitions. 

Fifth overall was the top female outfit, the Adelaide Crows AFLW, who topped this year’s ladder for the fourth time in six seasons, having won two premierships in that time. This year’s top 25 contains ten female teams, including three AFLW teams.

Melbourne City’s Jamie McLaren. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Since 2019, ABST has been an annual award over rolling five-year periods, with previous winners Melbourne Storm (NRL) in 2019 and 2020, and Sydney FC (A-League Men’s) in 2021. Crusaders won the inaugural 2018 award, which was a 25-year study.

The annual analysis looks at every game in Australasian sporting competitions, conducting a home/away or equivalent competition with Australian teams. 

Douglas Isles, Head of Investment at Platinum, said “GAIN LINE’s theories on cohesion continue to resonate with my understanding of the strength of Platinum’s investment team. In parallel with the sporting context, there are countless examples in the corporate world, where cohesion, or lack of it, determines outcomes. ABST recognises sporting excellence while supporting

great causes and is an opportunity to make a difference by following up on the work we have done on ourselves”.

Australasia’s Best Sporting Team – Top 25

1 Penrith Panthers NRL 

2 Melbourne City A League Men 

3 Crusaders Super Rugby 

4 UNSW Wests AWL Men’s 

5 Adelaide Crows AFLW 

6 Sydney Kings NBL 

7 Melbourne Demons AFLW 

8 Brisbane Lions AFLW 

9 Sydney FC A League Women 

10 Perth Scorchers BBL 

11 Chiefs Esports Club eSports 

12 Adelaide Strikers WBBL 

13 Brisbane Lions AFL 

14 Western Australia Sheffield Shield 

15 CBR Brave AIHL 

16 Tasmanian Tigers WNCL 

17 Blues Super Rugby 

18 Melbourne Boomers WNBL 

19 Sydney Sixers BBL 

20 Chiefs Super Rugby 

21 NSW Waratahs Super Rugby W 

22 Collingwood Magpies AFL 

23 Melbourne Storm NRL

24 West Coast Fever Netball 

25 Sydney Sirens AWIHL 

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