Panthers forward Sika Manu is set to miss six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Penrith have been dealt a pre-Christmas blow with second-rower Sika Manu ruled out of action for six months after having surgery on his left shoulder.
The former Storm forward underwent the knife immediately upon his return from the World Cup, where he played three games for Tonga.
NRL.com understands the 26-year-old, who missed four games last season with a thumb injury, had been carrying a left shoulder problem for most of the year but it is unclear whether it was exacerbated during the World Cup.
Penrith declined to comment on the injury, which could force Manu to miss the first two months of the 2014 season.
The news is a lot better on hooker James Segeyaro, who suffered a pectoral injury in Papua New Guinea's clash with the Prime Minister's XIII in early October that forced him to miss the World Cup.
"It was pretty disappointing seeing I was back in my home town and my family came to watch and pretty much 30 seconds into the game, my first tackle, I just hit [David Shillington's] knee and then I was pretty much gone after that," Segeyaro told NRL.com.
"I thought it was going to be sweet and I was going to play at the World Cup. It was feeling alright but obviously coming back here, I went to the specialist and he advised me not to go over to the World Cup.
"That was pretty shattering. It was something I was looking forward to the whole year, knowing the World Cup was there and it only comes around only 4-5 years. I didn't really want to watch the games because it made me more upset knowing I couldn't do anything for the boys over there.
"I was going to play through it at the World Cup. I was going to go over and just wanted to see how it goes but it was a massive gamble. If I had another hit on it, I'd be out for another six months and seeing as though I'm here for the next three years, I really wanted to make that combination clicking with me, Jamie [Soward], 'Wal' [halfback Peter Wallace] and 'Moyza' [fullback Matt Moylan]."
Segeyaro, 23, avoided surgery and will begin contact sessions in the new year intent on wrestling the starting hooker job from incumbent skipper Kevin Kingston.
Kingston admitted last month that he was resigned to playing behind Segeyaro next season.
"To tell you the truth, I'm going to try everything I can do to get that number nine jersey," Segeyaro said.
"Kevvy's a leader and our club captain, and I won't feel too upset about it if he gets it. But at the end of the day, I'm here for 3-4 years and if I can get that number nine jersey, I'll try my hardest and do whatever I can to do so. Hopefully I can cement that in the near future.
"At the end of the day it's a competition, but it's a good, healthy competition. I thought me and Kevvy worked pretty good last year, that [sharing] role.
"But I'm 23 now so it's time to leave the rookie scene, to try to step up and be a consistent, 80-minute first grader. That's what I set out to do in my career, and hopefully I'll establish that going into this season."