Legend has it that Ancient Greek hero Achilles' near invincibility was the result of being submerged in the River Styx. Had he been dipped in the Nepean River, he may have survived the Trojan War.
The Penrith Panthers' seeming invulnerability would suggest as much. Hurtling towards an unprecedented third straight premiership (NRL era), it's just about impossible to find a weakness in the two-time reigning premiers' arsenal.
It hasn't stopped people trying, never more so than ahead of a premiership decider against Brisbane that has all the makings off a classic - but will still see the defending champs start pronounced favourites.
It's opportunistic in a lot of ways, seizing on the fact the Broncos produced 23 offloads in their big win over the Warriors to punch their grand final ticket.
There's also an element of re-invention of an old idea. The last side as ruthlessly methodical as this Panthers outfit was Melbourne through the 'big three' era.
Those Storm teams dealt with the same suggestions they struggled to contain second-phase play given it couldn't be as easily diffused by sound defensive systems.
When it comes to the Panthers, it's an idea seemingly sprung from Parramatta's head-to-head joy at their expense over the past two seasons - though notably not when it counted.
The Eels produce more off-loads than any other side, averaging 13.7 this season. Given the Eels are 4-2 against their fierce Western Sydney rivals over the past two years, it's easy to conclude offloads is the Panthers achilles heel.
It's an easy enough conclusion to reach, but it doesn't really withstand scrutiny, at least as far as numbers go. For one, the correlation between a high number of offloads and wins is tenuous at best.
The Eels were 12-12 and missed the finals this year while again topping the offload chart, while the Tigers (11.9 per game) ran second.
The Broncos and Panthers both averaged 10 offloads a game, but so did the Bulldogs and Titans who finished 14th and 15th respectively. All told, four of the top six offloading sides missed the finals this year.
When it comes specifically to the Panthers, there's nothing to suggest a high number of offloads was a key factor in their defeats.
In six losses the Panthers 'lost' the offload count three times.
They produced nine offloads to four in a round-one loss to Brisbane and 12 to 10 in a one-point defeat to Parramatta in round four.
Souths won the offload count 10-5 in round eight, while the Tigers produced five offloads to two in driving rain at Bathurst in the biggest upset of the year a week later.
They dropped just two more games in the 16 that followed, winning the offload count 13-5 despite losing to the Cowboys in round 16, and producing one less (13-12) in going down to the Eels in the penultimate round.
The fluctuations in the head-to-head number of offloads and the actual results suggest offloading is no consistent factor in whether the Panthers win or lose.
The Eels managed 17 offloads to eight in a 22-20 win over the Panthers in round nine last year, and 18-6 in a subsequent 34-10 win over their arch-rivals in round 20 of the same season.
Crucially, the Eels also completed sets at 85 and 83 per cent respectively in each outing. Come the decider, the Eels again won the offload count, 19-6, but completed at just 70 per cent.
We all saw the result - a decider decided by halftime.
There's few things more boring to discuss in rugby league than completion rates, and the stat alone doesn't account for success, or lack thereof.
The Panthers boast the highest completion rate (83 per cent) in the competition, but the Broncos (78 per cent) are ninth despite having the same win-loss ledger.
Four of the top seven sides for completions missed the finals, including two of the top three (Titans and Cowboys), so it's not a stat-line that automatically equates to wins.
What is clear by the numbers, is that your chances of beating Penrith decrease dramatically when completion rates drop below 80 per cent.
In the Panthers' six losses this year, four came when their opposition completed at 84 per cent or more.
Parramatta completed at a whopping 95 per cent in round four, while the Rabbitohs (85 per cent), Tigers (90 per cent) and Cowboys (84 per cent) produced similar numbers.
Brisbane beat the Panthers in round one completing just 76 per cent on a night they were beaten by every measure bar the scoreboard, but that result is an outlier.
Parramatta's win over a heavily depleted Panthers in a penultimate-round dead rubber is another anomaly.
In 2022 just one of four losses came with a rival completing at less than 80 per cent, and that was a Panthers reserve grade side that went down to the Cowboys in the final round.
There are multiple paths to victory for the Broncos on Sunday but, as boring as it sounds, completions are key. Few things put a dent in them more than a preconceived plan to force offloads from the jump.
It's the kind of trap countless sides have fallen into over the Panthers run of dominance, the idea that you must re-invent the wheel in order to beat them. That may be the case for some sides who simply don't match up, it's not the case for this Brisbane outfit.
In round one they beat the reining premiers offloading the ball just four times. They lost that game by every statistical measure bar the scoreboard, but grafted their way to the win.
Kevin Walters' side won't win by going into its shell, but it doesn't need to suddenly become the Harlem Globetrotters. The Broncos' key will be trusting themselves in the grind.
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