Penrith have labelled this Sunday’s NRL clash against the Wests Tigers as the game that can make or break their injury-ravaged season.
Three losses on the trot has last year’s preliminary finalists spiralling down the competition ladder to be just one win ahead of last-placed Manly.
News that James Segeyaro is the latest to join an already-bulging casualty ward will be softened by the expected return of Kangaroos representative Josh Mansour.
Panthers captain Peter Wallace expressed frustration with the team’s current form.
“Obviously not playing well is always frustrating. But it’s probably the right word for the whole year,” he told AAP.
“We have glimpses of playing good footy and then we do some very ordinary stuff too.
“That’s probably the most frustrating part – we have the talent and the potential, we’re just not putting it together at the moment.”
Asked whether the line needed to be drawn this Sunday, he said: “Definitely. Every game now is a must-win for us.
“It’s going to be a big challenge because they’re tossing up that it could be one of the last games at Leichhardt.
“I know for sure they’re going to be up for it. We’re going to have to match them.”
The return of Mansour will be a huge boost for a Panthers attack that, along with Manly, has scored the least amount of points so far this season.
The Four Nations representative hasn’t played since injuring his knee in Round 7 against the Titans.
“It’ll be really good to get him back. He gives us that good go-forward,” teammate Waqa Blake said.
“He was meant to be back for the Parra game but he hurt it again.
“He’s worked really hard and he’s back again now.”
Blake matches up against former Panther Kevin Naiqama, who has been in strong form since switching to Concord over the summer.
The pair helped Penrith to a NSW Cup premiership last season.
“He was the left centre, I was right centre,” he said.
“He taught me how to prepare myself because it was my first year in NSW Cup.
“He always told me to be confident so it’ll be fun coming up against him.”