Playmaker Jamie Soward says hooker James Segeyaro has emerged as a key figure for the Panthers as they attempt to overcome a halves injury crisis.
Livewire hooker James Segeyaro shapes as a key figure in Penrith’s run-in to the NRL finals as they attempt to overcome their halves injury crisis, according to playmaker Jamie Soward.
Halfback Peter Wallace remains sidelined with a knee injury for at least a month and his stand-in Tyrone Peachey suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Monday’s win over Brisbane that is expected to rule him out for the rest of the season.
In-form fullback Matt Moylan has been named at five-eighth for Saturday’s round 19 clash with premiers the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium with Soward again shifted to halfback by top-of-the-table Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been listed at the back, however Bryce Cartwright is more likely to fill the pivot role for the Panthers as he did when Peachey left the field against the Broncos.
Either way Soward says Segeyaro is set to play a key role.
“Last night a guy who didn’t get a lot of wraps was James Segeyaro,” Soward said on Tuesday.
“The way he helped me steer the team around; I haven’t played halfback for a long time and when we lost Peach it was a bit ad lib there for a while and paddled at the back end of the first half.
“But Chiko (Segeyaro) was great, he controlled the ruck when he needed to and forwards went forward when we needed them to and we scored some really good tries. We just didn’t shut them out.
The Roosters are not without their injury concerns with wingers Daniel Tupou and Roger Tuivasa-Scheck sidelined alongside Michael Jennings.
Young guns Nene Macdonald and Brendan Elliot come in on the Roosters’ flanks with Mitchell Aubusson again cover at centre for Jennings.
Superstar Jarryd Hayne returns for Parramatta for their Pirtek Stadium clash with South Sydney on Friday in the opening to the NRL’s Rise for Alex round.
The NSW fullback was rested for the Eels’ 48-0 thrashing to the Warriors last weekend.
Souths coach Michael Maguire again appears undecided over his best halves pairing with John Sutton and Adam Reynolds named there and Luke Keary on the bench.
Andrew Fifita will start at prop for Cronulla against North Queensland on Friday at Remondis Stadium, with Anthony Tupou slotted into lock for injured skipper Paul Gallen (biceps).
Centre Jarrad Kennedy will replace injured Canberra centre Brenko Lee (hamstring) for Saturday’s match against Melbourne at AAMI Park.
Warriors utility Thomas Leuluai returns from a groin injury on the bench for their Suncorp Stadium match up with Brisbane.
Kevin Gordon will play fullback for the Gold Coast’s trip to Hunter Stadium on Sunday to play Newcastle with William Zillman out with a hamstring injury.
Keith Lulia replaces the injured David Nofoaluma (knee) for Wests Tigers’ fixture against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium, with Tim Simona coming in to play centre after recovering from a mouth injury.
Representative back-rower Anthony Watmough returns from suspension to replace the suspended Justin Horo for Manly’s clash with St George Illawarra at Kogarah Oval on Monday.