Penrith have named Peter Wallace and Kevin Kingston as co-captains for the 2014, barely 12 months after both players’ NRL futures were in doubt.
At different stages last season, Peter Wallace and Kevin Kingston were told by their respective NRL clubs their services were no longer needed.
Fast forward 12 months and not only are their careers back on track, but they’ve also been handed the responsibility of captaining Penrith, a team tipped to rise up the ladder in 2014.
“That’s rugby league,” Wallace told AAP on Monday.
“It’s an up-and-down game. One day you’re gone and the next day you’re back.
“It’s just great the club’s put faith in us to lead the boys around and we’re going to do everything possible to make sure we do a good job.”
Wallace was one of the big-name casualties in Brisbane’s tug-of-war for ex-Canterbury fullback Ben Barba.
After being relegated to the Broncos bench, the 28-year-old was granted an early release from his contract and signed a three-year deal with the Panthers – his junior club – last August.
And while he says he has slipped back into the western Sydney outfit with ease, the co-captaincy was something out of left field.
“It came as a bit of a surprise, it was unexpected,” the playmaker said.
“I’ve obviously been asked to do the job based on what I’ve been doing around the place so far.
“But I feel honoured. It’s a very proud moment.”
Similarly, Kingston was told early in 2013 his contract with the Panthers would not be renewed at the end of the season, only for the club to turn around mid-season and offer him a one-year deal for 2014.
And, like Wallace, the 30-year-old is grateful to have been thrown a lifeline – the co-captaincy is just a bonus.
“I’m really rapt to get another chance at success,” he said.
“I don’t know how long the career’s going to last for, I’ve just got to do my best and hopefully the team goes well so we can play finals footy.”
Wallace is targeting a “realistic” top eight finish in 2013, confident his pairing in the halves with fellow high-profile recruit Jamie Soward will provide the spark the Panthers were missing last season.
Saturday’s season-opener at home against Newcastle will be the their first proper game together, but Wallace said the early signs are promising.
“I’ve played in a fair few different halves combinations over the years, it does feel like it’s gelling pretty quickly,” he said.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work, a lot of ball work so hopefully it just flows on the weekend.
“Everything’s going well, we’ll see how it goes on Saturday.”