Wallace Named Panthers Captain
Penrith Panthers coach Anthony Griffin will stick with Peter Wallace as the side's captain after confirming the veteran will lead the club in 2018.
The 32-year-old's appointment comes as former skipper Matt Moylan departed for the Cronulla Sharks over the off-season.
Wallace guided the Panthers for the final month of the 2017 season with Moylan rested for personal reasons.
Penrith forwards Isaah Yeo and Trent Merrin had been mentioned as potential candidates, but in the end Griffin opted for the experience and cool head that Wallace provides and said the veteran had proven himself worthy of the role.
"Peter Wallace did a great job at the end of last year so I don't see any reason to change that," Griffin said on Thursday.
"Pete is a steady influence on the players. He'll start the season as captain. He's got people around him like Trent Merrin, Isaah Yeo and Josh Mansour that are good leaders.
"He's been a great servant to the club and his transition into hooker the last couple of years has given him another lease of life and taken him to another level."
The former Brisbane Broncos player has played four State of Origin matches and is in the fourth year of his second stint with Penrith.
After making his NRL debut for the Panthers in 2005, Wallace moved to Brisbane in 2008 and spent the following six seasons with the Broncos before re-joining Penrith in 2014.
He has managed 72 games in four seasons during the second stint with the stalwart luckless on occasions with injury.
Former NSW coach Laurie Daley pencilled Wallace into the Blues side for the opening game of the 2017 State of Origin series until disaster struck with a groin injury ending his chances of a return to the representative arena.
"It was terrible last year before that injury, he would have been the NSW hooker. He's has a really good off season and we're looking forward to watching him play," Griffin said.
"[His future] is something we'll have a look at as the year goes on. For him the important thing is just about getting him ready to play from Round 1."
The news comes as Wallace's new teammate and Cronulla Sharks recruit James Maloney fronted media for the first time as a Panther on Thursday.
The 31-year-old welcomed Griffin's decision to stick with Wallace.
"That's a good appointment and I'm looking forward to teaming up with him," Maloney said.
"He's obviously very highly respected amongst the boys and is a real nice and calm old head. I always had respect playing against him."
Meanwhile, the Panthers have received some bad news on the injury front, with off-season signing Tyrone Phillips expected to miss six months after tearing a pectoral muscle.
The 24-year-old had spent the previous four seasons with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.