THE Penrith Panthers' quest to turn CUA Stadium into a fortress will get its sternest test on Sunday when they play host to the unbeaten South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Ivan Cleary's team passed the first challenge with a big win against Canberra.
But this game is the true probe of the re-formed Panthers outfit — a task made infinitely harder by the season-ending pectoral injury to Lachlan Coote.
Coote, who completed the first full pre-season of his career, left the field early in the Panthers 28-18 loss to the Wests Tigers at the weekend.
"That's the most disappointing thing, this was actually my first full pre-season of my career," Coote said.
"You train all that time and put in so much hard work, then in just the second round this happens. It's shattering. And to think that last year I played all 26 rounds and now I'm out already. It's pretty disappointing but stuff happens.
"I felt something wasn't right straight away. I tried to get up and keep playing but as soon as Ronnie Palmer came out and did a test on my arm, I realised I had no power there. There was no way I was going to continue."
Coote is one of 11 changes from the corresponding fixture last year.
The list above shows just six players — or 35 per cent — remain standing from the 17-man squad that took the field. Injury, retirements, trades and loss of form have conspired to leave the Panthers with the most disrupted line-up in the comp.
South Sydney has the most settled line-up with only Scott Geddes (retired), David Taylor (Titans) and Eddy Pettybourne (Tigers) no longer with the club.