Penrith lose winger Taylan May for year with ACL injury

Penrith's hopes of an NRL three-peat have taken a significant hit, with powerful winger Taylan May ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

May was hurt in a tackle the first half of the Panthers' World Club Challenge loss to St Helens, with scans confirming an ACL injury.

The flyer had already been set to miss the first two matches of the year after having an off-field ban controversially deferred by the NRL late last season.

But he will instead now miss the entire 2023 season and will have surgery on his injured knee.

It comes after May crossed for 16 tries in a breakout rookie year for the Panthers last season, as he proved hard to stop on the left wing.

His work out of Penrith's own end was also just as valuable, with he and Brian To'o regularly putting the Panthers on the front foot.

Fijian international Sunia Turuva will almost certainly be the man to replace May, with To'o likely to revert to the left wing and Turuva to feature on the right.

The club allowed back-up winger Charlie Staines move to Wests Tigers over the off-season, in a player swap with Tyrone Peachey.

The Panthers have also lost Viliame Kikau and Apisai Koroisau to Canterbury and the Tigers respectively from last year's premiership-winning team.

Panthers players claimed on Monday that Saturday night's 13-12 golden-point loss to St Helens had been both a wake-up call and reality check for the club.

"It's a bit of both I think," five-eighth Jarome Luai said.

"A reality check definitely. Every team in this comp is hard to beat and watching a few trial games over the weekend there are some good teams out there.

"All the teams are coming out fresh and ready to go, so we're going to have to keep getting better as we go."