Wallace's 200th erases 'evil' doubts
You can forgive Penrith Panthers veteran Peter Wallace for thinking he'd never reach his 200th NRL game.
With back-to-back ACL injuries ruining his past two seasons, Wallace was entitled to throw in the towel on a career that has seen him play for New South Wales and at the past World Cup for Scotland.
Yet here we are halfway through the 2016 season and the 30-year-old has featured in every game for the Panthers.
On Friday night against the Rabbitohs, Wallace will proudly make it a double century of NRL appearances, a whopping 11 years after his NRL debut.
"It's a good personal achievement to reach. The last couple of years there had been some doubts especially last year when I did my knee again," Wallace said.
"There were some evil thoughts after it but I was confident that if surgery went well, I'd be right to get back but there was always doubt. A lot of hard work in the off-season later and I'm fortunate enough that this year has been pretty good in most aspects.
"You never know, the injuries could have been a blessing in disguise. I could get a couple more years out of more body considering I haven't played too much footy the past few seasons."
Wallace is confident of extending his stay at his beloved Panthers as well following a revitalising move to hooker this year.
A broken arm to James Segeyaro in Round 1 opened Wallace's eyes to the possibilities out of dummy half, considering the playmaker had only started four games there prior to this season.
Now with Segeyaro reportedly set to leave the before June 30 for the Leeds Rhinos in the English Super League, the No.9 jumper seemingly belongs to Wallace.
"I had played little bits here and there throughout my career but going there full-time has freshened me up. It gives you a new look at the game and a different way to play too," Wallace said.
"I'm really enjoying it actually, and at this point I'm not actually looking to return to the halves. I'm pretty happy playing hooker at the moment so I guess I'll be No.9 from now."
With Segeyaro and Jamie Soward not featuring in first grade of late, Wallace's seniority has never been more important as the elder statesman of the Panthers team.
"Take those two guys out and that's nearly 300 games of experience missing. You have to take on a bit more of a senior role – not that I wasn't already doing it – but it's more important my role now grows with the others not playing at the moment," he said.
"I've been really impressed by the young blokes who have played this year though, they're not getting ahead of themselves but everything is looking positive for them."