Penrith five-eighth Jamie Soward says he still hasn’t fully recovered from his shoulder injury and is in doubt for this week’s clash against Canterbury.
Soward was a late withdrawal from their last-start loss to Melbourne a fortnight ago after copping a late hit from Parramatta forward Pauli Pauli the week prior.
And despite enjoying the bye last week, the former St George-Illawarra pivot says he’s no certainty to take the field against the Bulldogs on Saturday night.
“I feel good. Obviously it was another week where I got to rest the shoulder so I’ll try and test it this week and see if I’ll be right for Saturday,” he said.
Asked about his status to face the Bulldogs, he said: “I’m not sure yet.
“We’ll leave it up to the coach and medical staff at the moment.
“I had another week off, (but) it’s probably a little bit longer an injury than what we thought was two weeks. So we’ll just wait and see later in the week.”
Pressed further on what measures it would take for him to run out, he quipped: “They get Pauli Pauli to come and tackle this (other) side.”
The Panthers were also without fullback Matt Moylan in the defeat to the Storm two weeks ago where they failed to score a point.
The Penrith fullback recently underwent ankle surgery and won’t be back for another two months.
With youngster Dallin Watene-Zelezniak filling in his absence, Soward admitted the team would need to alter its structures in attack.
“Matty’s out for a long time. So for us it’s about changing a little bit with Dallin at fullback,” he said.
“He’s more of a different style to Matty.
“Matty’s got silky hands, but Dallin’s a fantastic runner of the ball. We’ll just have to chime in a little bit differently there and make sure that Dallin’s comfortable with how we’re playing.”
The Panthers have lost three of their past four games to sit precariously outside the top eight.
While injuries have cruelled the first half of their season, Soward also said the team had identified a concerning trend of slow starts in their past few games.
“Our starts the past couple of weeks hasn’t been good enough to play NRL at the moment,” he said.
“We were down 12-0 after five, 10 minutes against Parra and the same thing with Melbourne.”
“It’s just a matter of putting ourselves in that position straightaway.
“12-nil down it makes it hard for the next 60 minutes, trying to play from behind all the time.
“It’d be nice to be able to go out there and lead for a change.”