You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards.

A week in which star halfback Nathan Cleary was in doubt until game day has his coach and father Ivan contemplating squad rotation in the coming months.

Winger Josh Mansour was rested with a chronic knee injury and back-rower Kurt Capewell is also nursing a knee problem and is out for an extended period.

Capewell's replacement Liam Martin picked up a burner in his shoulder against Souths and Viliame Kikau is managing a shoulder nerve issue among other bumps and bruises.

The 20-12 win over Souths on Thursday night moved Penrith – at least temporarily – to the top of the NRL ladder and with nine days until a meeting with the ninth-placed Tigers they can afford to experiment.

"We've got a couple of guys playing busted," Cleary said.

"Josh [Mansour's] is a chronic knee, he could have easily played but the last couple of weeks his prep's been a bit [affected], with a nine-day turnaround I thought it was a good chance [to rest him]. He'll be a lot better for that.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Rabbitohs

"We've spoken about how we could possible rotate, it's important to get some of these guys who aren't playing footy [some minutes], it was good to see Brent Naden come in tonight."

Cleary also spoke about just how tough a week it had been for Nathan.

"Monday, he turned up and his face was pretty swollen, that’s when we worked out he had an infection, he couldn't really train," Ivan said.

Cleary secures the win for the Panthers

"Come yesterday [Wednesday] antibiotics hadn't been working and he was worse, he was in hospital most of yesterday … he started showing some better signs yesterday, we had to wait until this morning pretty much.

"He definitely wanted to play. Most of today, Craig Catterick (Penrith's Medical and Rehabilitation Coordinator) did a great job and he's experienced in that area. Infections are a little bit tricky, especially around that area, he had scans yesterday to make sure it hadn't got in his sinus area so once that was clear and the swelling went down a bit he was right.

"His eyes were pretty puffed up for a couple of days and getting a lot of headaches due to the pressure."

There was a discussion around Nathan putting his running game away and just guiding the team around but things didn't pan out that way.

"I had that conversation with him today, I didn't use the word 'dinner suit', but I said you might want to steer us around ... don't think too much about running," Ivan said.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners