Panthers X-Factor: Lachlan Coote

Second season syndrome doesn’t even enter the thought process of Lachlan Coote, but at the same time when talking to the 18 year old Panthers fullback, there is the sense that he is still living in a dream.<br><br>When Coote debuted against Brisbane in Round 16 last year, fans had heard of him as a gun Toyota Cup player - but his man of the match performance in the 12-12 draw with the Broncos marked him as a star before injury struck.<br><br>The questions for Coote are: can he handle the pressure of being a known quantity taking over from club favourite Rhys Wesser and will he continue to stand up and be counted in season 2009?<br><br>Matthew Elliott certainly thinks so as he has rushed Coote, who had off-season surgery, back into the fullback spot.<br><br>“Coming into the pre-season I had done my knee last year and I had a medial tear in my shoulder. It wasn’t big or anything though it put me out for a couple of months, but I’m ready to go now.<br><br>“It’s very important for me to earn my spot. I don’t think there is any extra pressure except obviously that I’m on the NRL ad so there’s a bit of pressure there, but I’m just looking forward to getting that first game out the way.”<br><br>That first game will take place against Cronulla at Toyota Park and then the tough run continues as Penrith take on the Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Wests Tigers, Storm and Broncos in the first six weeks.<br><br>A time Coote knows is important for the club.<br><br>The first game is when everyone is real nervous and we just want to get it out of the way. It’s pretty hard going to Toyota Park where our record is not good.<br><br>“It doesn’t get easier from there and hopefully we can win a couple of games. It’s a tough six rounds so I’m happy to get them out of the way and then hopefully the rest of the season goes good.<br><br>&nbsp;“I just want to be consistent and hopefully not get any bad injuries like I did last year, hold my own and hold my spot.”<br><br>In refreshing news Coote’s biggest personal goal is to continue making his family proud.<br><br>“Last year I was stoked to play, but I was also proud of myself and having all my family proud of me. That’s what I play for.”<br><br>