Panthers five-eighth Lachlan Coote faces the prospect of missing the rest of the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in today’s 28-18 loss to the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium.
Coote left the field early in the first half and will have MRI scans tomorrow to determine the full extent of the injury.
After the game, officials were hopeful that the injury was not at the most serious end of the scale and hence Coote could miss only six to eight weeks.
However, it will cause coach Ivan Cleary a major headache as he prepares for next Sunday’s battle with Souths at Penrith Stadium. Blake Austin would be the most likely replacement, though Tom Humble may also come into calculations.
The Panthers missed Coote as they struggled to get on top of the Tigers despite scoring first through Sika Manu.
The home side were in front 12-6 at half-time, and extended their lead by two converted tries when Aaron Woods scored the first of a double in the 46th minute.
Penrith got back on track when David Simmons scored out wide, but the Tigers were always seemingly in control of the encounter, getting home 28-18.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was fuming at a ‘no try’ call in the dying minutes, with Sika Manu denied a hat trick and the match denied a grandstand finish.