Penrith Panthers fullback Lachlan Coote knows the pressure will be on in 2012, not only remain injury free but to keep away his favoured number one jersey from preying teammates.
The 21-year-old local junior enters his fifth National Rugby League season against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on March 3 and said he’ll do whatever he can to hold his fullback spot.
“I want to be a lot more consistent with my footy this season and hopefully hold my (fullback) position because there are a lot of players after it this year,” he said.
Up to three fellow players are after Coote’s jersey this season including New South Origin player Michael Gordon, winger David Simmons and rising Toyota Cup fullback Matt Moylan, but Coote said he’s used battling for position.
“I’ve had it growing up throughout my whole career, there’s always been fullbacks wanting my position and I’ve taken other people’s positions and that’s just the way footy is. I’ve experienced this the whole way through juniors and I’m used to it, it’s just another obstacle you have to get around," he said.
On Tuesday, Coote and his teammates battled it out in the searing summer heat in what appeared to be a very physical training session.
Coote said he’s been enjoying his time under new coach Ivan Cleary and the rest of the updated Panthers training staff.
“It’s been good so far, when I first came in I didn’t know what to expect and I think that was a good thing because everything was fresh and new and I was looking forward to it,” he said.
The Panthers have three pre-season games coming up, a local derby against the Parramatta Eels at Centrebet Stadium, a clash with the Newcastle Knights in Port Macquarie, as well as a trial against the Ipswich Jets in Brisbane.