He may be back in the halves but it was his recent stint at hooker that proved to Peter Wallace that he still has plenty to offer in the NRL.
Two years after tearing knee ligaments on the same turf in Bathurst, the Penrith playmaker was the hero on Saturday when he delivered his team a win over Canberra with a 25-metre field goal with just over a minute remaining.
The exclamation mark topped off a mini-revival in form for the off-contract 30-year-old, having found a new lease of life deputising for injured hooker James Segeyaro for most of the past eight weeks.
And he is now set to be rewarded for his good form with a new contract extension, having spent the past two years battling back-to-back knee reconstructions on the same leg he hurt in 2014.
“It’s just confirmed that I’m up to this level. The last year I played the whole year pretty much with a s**t knee,” Wallace told AAP.
“Every game was a struggle and it was very frustrating because I couldn’t play to my potential. I was battling every week so it was a very frustrating year.
“But my body feels good now and hopefully I’ve proved to everyone that I am up to the level and I’ve got a fair bit left in me.”
The former Brisbane halfback admitted he put some demons to bed in his return to Carrington Park.
“When the rain was coming over earlier I was not looking forward to that. That’s how I did it in 2014, it was a muddy field. But thankfully the weather held off and I kicked the field goal,” he said.
“The game was very similar actually. We were in front and they equalled late. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win when I did my knee, but we got the win today.”
Segeyaro came through unscathed against the Raiders, marking the first time Penrith’s first-choice spine of Wallace, Jamie Soward, Matt Moylan and Segeyaro all finished a match since round two last year.
“It’s scary when you think about it like that. It just shows what we went through last year, the four of us, we were all out at some point. Hopefully we can all stay there in the end,” Wallace said.
Wallace said Segeyaro was pivotal in the win.
“He adds a lot of spark to us. I thought he was really good today, especially being his first game,” he said.
“He didn’t play is overplay his hand, he run when he had to, and came up with a big play at the end there with the chargedown. It was a good comeback from him.”