National News

Player turnover Penrith's issue: Maloney

Penrith's high player turnover of 20 new faces in the NRL team in two years is a big reason behind their first failure to make the finals since 2015, according to James Maloney.

The Panthers' sorry NRL season will come to an end on Sunday against Newcastle, with Maloney conceding they have "under-performed" with just 10 wins in 23 games.

Among the top-four favourites at the start of the year, Penrith have endured a year that has included the lewd-video scandal and Phil Gould's departure as football boss.

But Maloney said it was changes on the field that had impacted the team far more in coach Ivan Cleary's first year back as coach.

"Over a two-year period that's probably a little more (new faces) than you'd ideally like," Maloney said.

"While it's not an excuse being young to being inconsistent, sometimes it just takes a bit of time to see the consistency needed week in week out.

"A lot of people have asked about the incident at the beginning of the season and things like that (being responsible for the season).

"That's hard to gauge individually how people handle that mentally. Just overall we've been too inconsistent."

Battling to manage their salary cap, Penrith's biggest problem has been their failure to replace the likes of Tyrone Peachey, Trent Merrin and Corey Harawira-Naera at the end of last year.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Waqa Blake were also high-profile departures mid-season, while Tyrone May hasn't played a game as he faces charges.

Penrith also haven't enjoyed success with their fringe players, with none of their five 2019 recruits finishing the year in first grade.

It's prompted 20 players to pull on a Penrith NRL jersey for the first time in the past two years with 15 of those debutants - nine this year alone.

Maloney will add to the list of exits at the end of the season as he heads to English Super League club Catalans with one year still on his Penrith contract.

In turn, the Panthers have only made one signing in Manly hooker Apisai Koroisau.

"Hopefully with them all being a really young roster they can spend a bit of time together now and the next crop can be drip fed through in a little more timely manner," Maloney said.

"It's a learning curve with a lot of young players, just the need for consistency week in week out.

"Our season has mirrored that. It's disappointing but that's on us.

"When you look at our side we have definitely under-performed to what we should have."

© AAP 2019