Corey Harawira-Naera

Desperate Panthers wanting it more despite injuries: CHN

The Panthers could be without as many as seven first grade regulars for their clash with the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday, but have still managed to win five of their first six games to sit in equal second on the competition ladder.

Not only is it Penrith's best start to a regular season since 1999, it is also a huge improvement on their dismal 2-7 opening to last year after having been installed as premiership favourite before a ball was kicked.

The call that saved Corey Harawira-Naera

The 22-year-old forward revealed he knocked back advice to have shoulder surgery following the NRL Nines in fear he would be forced out of the club with his contract expiring at the end of the 2017 Telstra Premiership.

"It was a niggle all year. I was hoping it healed itself by the end but it never did," Harawira-Naera told

"They said to get it done then but I knew I was coming off contract and asked them to play out the year.