NSW Origin hopeful emerges as Panthers flog Knights

Peter Wallace of the Panthers celebrates with Reagen Campbell-Gillard after scoring against the Newcastle Knights.
Peter Wallace of the Panthers celebrates with Reagen Campbell-Gillard after scoring against the Newcastle Knights. CRAIG GOLDING

THE depth of NSW's No.9 position has been a concern for a while now.

Robbie Farah is the incumbent, and Michael Ennis was the obvious next-in-line before he hung up the boots at the end of 2016.

But after those two hookers there doesn't seem to be anyone banging down the door to wear the cherished Blues strip.

Farah will be hard pressed letting his jumper go for this year's series, given the form he's shown in the opening three rounds with South Sydney.

But if fate robs him of the chance to play State of Origin, who does Laurie Daley turn to?

Fox Sports commentator Andrew Voss offered a suggestion while commentating Friday night's game from Pepper Stadium - Peter Wallace.

The veteran Penrith playmaker has carried his solid 2016 form into this season and he was again impressive as the Panthers ran riot over a hapless Newcastle outfit, winning 40-0 in Sydney's west.

Wallace scored a try of his own from dummy half and made 33 tackles.

Wallace has represented NSW four times, all at halfback between 2008 and 2009.

He was moved to hooker last year under coach Anthony Griffin and has thrived in the role, shaking speculation his career was over before a ball had been kicked in 2016.

Now he potentially finds himself next in line to an Origin spot.

Nathan Peats is the other hooker worth a mention, though he's spent the first part of Gold Coast's season injured on the sideline.

Meanwhile, the NRL came down hard on three clubs this week for ignoring the strict concussion rules by allowing players to remain on the field after head knocks.

Newcastle was whacked with a $100,000 fine for letting fullback Brendan Elliott stay on the park.

It seems the NRL's hardline stance is already working, and the Knights have learned their lesson.

Jacob Saifiti was ordered from the field for a HIA test during the first half after being cleaned up by the shoulder of Sitaleki Akauola.

Saifiti passed the test and was allowed back into the fray after half time.

Let's hope all 16 NRL clubs have received the message loud and clear.

Topics:  newcastle knights nrl penrith panthers peter wallace

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