Robinson fighting tooth and nail for Panthers
No matter your stance on Penrith godfather Phil Gould, you've got to admire his plucky Panthers for fighting tooth and nail for the holy grail of that top four spot – we just never thought they'd do it literally.
Not that it matters at this time of the year – what with rugby league players staying upright with torn hamstrings and biceps these days – but little-known Penrith back-rower Matt Robinson was sporting a lovely splint for four of his front teeth when chatting with reporters on Wednesday.
The Titans-bound line-runner thought he was suffering concussion when he put Cooper Cronk on his backside in a loss to the Storm last Monday night, but when he eventually came to the sideline, his senses were screaming something else.
"As I came off, I took my mouthguard and then realised my front tooth was bent right back. I pushed it back into place and soldiered on," Robinson told NRL.com.
"I went to the dentist yesterday and saw the specialist. They're hopeful of saving it. But they've put this trendy-looking splint on the front for a few weeks. It's an interesting look."
In a way, this 24-year-old second-rower from Wellington epitomises all there is to like about the mountain men this season.
For one, he's one of half a dozen Panthers that are doing the job despite wearing that hideous Abe Lincoln.
But more importantly, he's also doing it despite not being offered a contract by the club on the rise. The Warriors junior admitted feeling disappointed when he came to the negotiation table and no one turned up.
Asked whether he wanted to stay, Robinson said: "It sort of wasn't an option. It was more of the offer [from Gold Coast] coming up. The Titans wanted me, and it was too good to turn down. I just had to take it.
"Yeah, it did cut me up. It's going to hurt any time that happens to anyone, really. But they've got a lot of depth coming through and that's the way of the future. Good luck to them. I'll always enjoy watching Penrith."
It's the type of attitude that's keeping the underdog Panthers on their feet despite an injury list that's almost reached Cronulla-point.
News emerged on Wednesday that club captain Kevin Kingston had suffered a fracture in his knee against Melbourne, taking their casualty ward to eleven regular first-graders unavailable.
Make that 12 if James Segeyaro takes more time to grieve for the passing away of his father in Papua New Guinea.
"Yeah, but it's not as if we're bringing rookies in," Robinson said.
"The boys are fairly confident. Everyone at the club is fairly confident we can still do the job. We've got experienced guys taking their place. Someone like Benny Murdoch[-Masila] came in and he's played more than 50 games.
"It just shows the great depth we've got this year. It's a bit of a luxury some other clubs don't have. We're competitive, and I still think we've got a chance. Even on Monday night, we were still competitive against the Storm even though we had something like ten players out."
And a couple of teeth, too.