AAP Rugby

Hesitant DWZ ready to take Panthers’ kicks

By AAP Newswire

A hesitant Dallin Watene-Zelezniak says he'll take on Penrith's NRL goal-kicking void if called upon against the Warriors.

But he's joked that his Panthers teammates might need to score most of their tries under the posts.

Watene-Zelezniak is shaping as the front-runner to take shots at goal for the Panthers this weekend, with the club's two world-class kickers in James Maloney and Nathan Cleary in NSW State of Origin camp.

Rookie half Jarome Juai would be the other option with the boot, but even he doesn't kick goals in the club's ladder-leading NSW Cup team.

Back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera also fancies himself as a kicker, but it's understood he's unlikely to be considered given he's on return from a groin injury.

Which means the duties are likely to fall to Watene-Zelezniak, who kicked in his younger days but is yet to attempt a shot on goal in his 87 first grade games.

"I haven't kicked since NSW Cup and under-20s days," the fullback said.

"We have someone like Nathan there, so we haven't had to worry about the goal-kicking. Both of them are sharp shooters so I'm just happy that focus isn't on me and I can just concentrate on playing.

"(If asked) I'll do my job. I don't know, I'm average I guess.

"It would be good for the boys if they score some tries to make them under the post."

Meanwhile Cleary and Maloney's absences have forced Penrith coach Anthony Griffin into calling up youngsters Tyrone May and Luai into the halves.

Both are Penrith under-20s products from recent seasons, taking the count of the club's former NYC players in the team to 12.

Watene-Zelezniak is one of them, and he believed it's part of the reason why the Panthers manage to find success no matter how many players have to be called in through their high injury tolls in recent years.

"You play with guys like that and you get to know their games a little more," he said.

"You know when to push with them or what foot they're going to come off or what hand they offload and those kinds of things and their strengths and weaknesses.

"Coming through with them I think it's a real positive to have in the back of your mind how they'll play."