Penrith Panthers have picked up a couple more injuries ahead of next weekend’s NSW Cup grand final replay against Newcastle Knights.
The Panthers were given further problems in the infirmary during a gritty win over Wentworthville Magpies on Saturday night.
Penrith kept its spot at the top of the ladder with a win over the last-placed Magpies, who defied their lowly position to put up a good fight in the match at Regional Stadium, Port Macquarie.
Garth Brennan’s team won 16-0 but the victory was soured by a potentially serious ankle injury to fullback Kieran Moss.
Moss was returning from a fractured foot, only to get carried off in the second half against the Magpies. “Fingers crossed it’s not too bad,” Brennan said of Moss’s injury.
Moss was "fairly important" to the way the Panthers play, according to Brennan.
"It’s a bit of a worry," he said.
Sam Scarlett and Matt Eisenhuth lost some blood in a head clash.
"Neither are attractive men, so that won’t hurt their modelling careers," Brennan said.
Nathan Smith was also sidelined with an elbow injury.
Tupou Sopoaga was on the board for Penrith after seven minutes but Kempsey’s Adrian Davis couldn’t add the extras and the score was 4-0.
Isaac John scooped up a loose ball to dive over and extend the score as the half hour mark loomed, before Will Smith’s try in the second half sealed the match for Penrith.
Davis saved the best kick for last, with a sensational conversion from out wide.
Brennan was pleased to keep the Magpies to zero during the match.
He said the Parramatta feeder club was a better side than the position on the table suggested.
"They’re a good side," Brennan said. "If you have a look, they’re not that far away from the eight, only two or four points.
"It’s a really close competition, which is good. It makes it an exciting challenge each week, and you’ve got to be up each week."
The Panthers took the premiership in a dominant 48-12 grand final win last season, but Newcastle got revenge earlier this season.
"Newcastle’s always a tough challenge," Brennan said.
"They got us earlier on in the year, so hopefully we can turn the tables on them at our home ground."