Matt Moylan says don’t be surprised to see a new name in the Penrith halves come round one – it just won’t be his.
The Panthers’ star fullback has been mooted as a future playmaker but he downplayed any chance of seeing him in the No.6 or No.7 jersey next NRL season.
Instead, he expects boom youngster Te Maire Martin to be pushing Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace for a start.
While the Panthers’ veteran playmakers are not expected back in full training until after Christmas, Wests Tigers recruit Martin is making a big noise in the pre-season.
Soward underwent minor back surgery last week while Wallace is on the long road back from his second ACL tear in as many years.
Moylan said the New Zealand under-20s playmaker had been one of the standouts as the squad slogged it out under new coach Anthony Griffin in the pre-season and shown his intent to break into the starting side.
“(Martin) has been going real well and shown that he has the ability to play first grade,” Moylan told AAP.
“He’s pushing for a (starting) spot. I don’t know if you can carry a utility with the change in the interchange.
“But it just shows our depth and I think that’s healthy and keeps everyone pushing.”
Soward, 31, has given himself one year to return to his best or he will give the game away while 30-year-old Wallace is back running but has previously warned he is one major knee injury away from forced retirement.
Moylan himself has had to ease back into training after his 2015 campaign was cut short by an ankle injury but said he was progressing well.
A natural ballplayer, Moylan is expected to make a Darren Lockyer-like move into a playmaking position later in his career but said he was only focused on the fullback spot during the pre-season.
While getting the ball in hand has always been a part of his game, there had been no indication he would be moving closer to the action in 2016.
“We haven’t been changing anything, I just want to get out and play footy,” Moylan said.
“You always want to get the ball in your hands a bit more but you can’t overplay your hand.
“I think ball playing has always been a part of my game. Like the last couple of seasons, I’ll just keep working on it a bit more.”