The Penrith Panthers have been dealt a cruel pre-season blow with one of their key forwards set to be ruled out of the World Club Challenge clash against St Helens later this month.
According to the Aussie media, back rower Liam Martin, who only signed a new deal recently, has reportedly suffered an AC joint injury following a wrestling session earlier this week.
The much-sort-after forward had just put pen to paper on a deal which will keep him at the New South Wale club until the end of 2024.
The World Club Challenge sees Super League winners Saints head to Australia to take on NRL champions Penrith on Satuday February 18 at the BlueBet Stadium.
Martin came through the Panthers pathways and made his NRL debut in 2019 before earning NSW honours in 2021 and then playing for Australia.
The 25-year-old has 86 NRL games to his name and played in Australia’s World Cup final victory in November.
Upon signing his new deal, Martin said: “It means the world to me to re-sign with the Panthers. This club gave me my first opportunity when I was 17 and it’s become a second home for me.”
“I’m really happy to be staying here and I’m really excited for the future at the club and what we can build on following what we’ve already accomplished.
“St Helens, as Betfred Super League champions, will provide us with a tough challenge but I’m looking forward to the encounter and the new season.”