Four Penrith Panthers players are pushing to take the place of Fiji Bati and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs bound Viliame Kikau in the NRL next year.
The four players are Scott Sorensen, Luke Garner, Zac Hosking and Chris Smith who are in a four-way battle for Kikau’s jersey on the left edge.
Sorensen is likely to have the front running given his services to the Panthers in recent years but his value as a bench impact forward can’t be underestimated.
Garner arrived at the Panthers after coach Ivan Cleary handed him an NRL debut while both were at the Wests Tigers in 2018.
A strong line-runner, Garner is bound to have an impact with his new side while Hosking also impressed during his brief time in first grade at the Broncos.
The Panthers will have a familiar squad again in 2023 but some notable absentees with Viliame Kikau (Bulldogs) and Api Koroisau (Wests Tigers) among the key departures.
The 2023 NRL season will kick off in March.