Criminology nut Egan a serious student on and off field

Penrith hooker Wayde Egan is as enthusiastic about becoming a mastermind on the paddock as he is off it after locking down the Panthers' No.9 jersey in recent weeks.

Egan is in the middle of completing a certificate in criminology, learning about justice systems around the world in between studying some of the modern-day hookers in the Telstra Premiership.

"I'm a crime show nut, always trying to solve mysteries," Egan told NRL.com.

"Cases around the world like the Madeleine McCann story is interesting, but really, whatever is really on Netflix that pops up I get hooked on watching.

"I've always had an interest in law. You learn about the criminal systems and profiling. I picked up this course and I'll try and pick up a well being course down the track to go with it."

The 22-year-old has been forced to bide his time with limited minutes since making his NRL debut last season in a rotating role with Sione Katoa, but solid back-to-back performances in the starting role in recent weeks has caught the attention of Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.

Penrith have notably struggled in attack around the dummy-half area since the club let livewire James Segeyaro depart in 2016.

They finished the 2018 season with the least amount of runs and creativity out of all 16 clubs in the Telstra Premiership.

"Last year I was a fringe player playing 20 minutes a game but now we're sharing that role," Egan said of his combination with Katoa.

"We're trying to work together to get the best out of each other. The way Damien Cook runs he can change a game. We played Cameron Smith a few weeks back and he was always in control.

"They're the benchmark. I've played less than 20 games of first grade and am still trying to find my feet a little bit.

"I know once I locked it down I'd try and build my game with more control."

For two days a week, a teenage Egan would travel from Lithgow to North Sydney, often passing through where he would eventually begin his journey in the NRL.

Egan joined the North Sydney Bears for Harold Matthews (under 16) and trained with them at least twice a week.

"I'd drive past Penrith on the M4, beep at it on the way through," Egan said.

"There were a few pathways out there and it's a lot better now with Penrith connecting out west but back when I was playing juniors that connection wasn't there and you have to make your own luck.

"We were getting flogged every week at North Sydney. I went and trialled at the Roosters and a few other teams. The second year of SG Ball I came here for an open trial, was number 22 and hardly got a run but I must have played alright.

"Ben Harden, our 20s coach now, bought me in and then I got signed up. I don't even know if I was on the trial team list that day. I turned up there not knowing what I was doing. I played about 20 minutes. It must have been good."