Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has admitted to second-guessing himself as he attempts to build the Panthers from the ground up.

Given a mandate by football manager Phil Gould to transform the club into an NRL premiership force again, Cleary's first season at the club was filled with trials and tribulations as the Panthers failed to move far from the foot of the ladder.

A new season in 2013 has brought with it a fresh start and a host of new players - the biggest recruitment drive of any team in the NRL - and Cleary says he has struggled daily with the direction in which he wants to take the club.

"I don't know if doubt is the word but you question, constantly question if what you are doing is the best way," said Cleary.


"Perhaps we are a bit of an unknown. Maybe we are not one of the sexiest teams around - we don't get a lot of publicity here.

"But we are trying to create a new future here. We definitely respect the past but we are trying to create a new future and a lot of the new players are a part of that."

The Panthers' roster looks remarkably different from the one which struggled to worry the top sides last year.

It has a host of promising names but lacks a superstar quality, with Tim Grant and Lachlan Coote the leading lights. They are joined by newcomers such as Wes Naiqama, Dean Whare, James Segeyaro, Mose Masoe and Lewis Brown.

Cleary is pleased with the way his new squad has come together ahead of their season opener against 2012 finalists Canberra tomorrow.

"We have been together four months now. The chemistry is good - it all feels good," Cleary said. "I think the last 12 months has allowed us to get ready for this."