Penrith skipper Matt Moylan insists out-of-favour hooker James Segeyaro is still a part of the side’s best line-up – as long as he’s “on”.
Axed from first grade and unwanted for next season, Segeyaro was again named in NSW Cup alongside fellow high-profile star Jamie Soward by Panthers coach Anthony Griffin on Tuesday.
But Moylan insists the 25-year-old Segeyaro remains a part of their best 17, provided he rediscovers the form that earned him Dally M hooker of the year honours just two years ago.
“When he’s on, he’s on,” Moylan said of Segeyaro.
“He’s probably one of the best hookers in the game. I definitely think he would be in the best 17 when he’s on.”
The former North Queensland rake will look to get back into Griffin’s good books when he plays reserve grade against Manly’s feeder side on Saturday, having been forced to miss last week’s clash due to injury.
Segeyaro failed to take part of a field session on Tuesday but was in a rehabilitation group.
“He’ll be fighting to get his spot back in the team,” Moylan said.
“We all know what sort of football he can produce. If he gets back to his best, it’s going to be a bonus not only for himself but us as a club going forward.”
Soward became the latest big-name dropped by Griffin in as many weeks following last week’s heavy defeat to Melbourne, consigning them to 11th spot after back-to-back defeats.
The veteran halfback, partnered by rookie playmaker Nathan Cleary, took the blame for the result.
“I didn’t really perform the game plan that the coach wanted there and let us down, especially with a young half (Cleary),” Soward said.
“I think if you’re not winning and you don’t perform, we’re all under the gun, myself included.
“I don’t have to talk to my teammates about it. They knew I was upset. But it’s up to me to do it.
“The buck stops with me.”
At just 19 years of age, Cleary will now be handed the reins in the halves alongside the versatile Bryce Cartwright.
“He’s a pretty calm character, and definitely showed on the weekend that he’s capable of playing first grade,” Moylan said.