AAP Rugby

May faces own NRL finals hurdle at Penrith

By AAP Newswire

Penrith have been knocked out in the second week of the past two NRL finals series but Tyrone May will have a bigger demon to beat than most in Friday night's semi-final against Cronulla.

Coming into the same match last year, May was enjoying his first real shot as an NRL starter playing in the halves at the Panthers in place of Matt Moylan before severely injuring his knee in Penrith's semi-final loss to Brisbane.

The blow was cruel, ruling him out of game for eight-and-a-half months until midway through this year, just as the highly-heralded youngster began to build some momentum in his own career.

"It did set me back a bit," May told AAP this week.

"It's a tough one to get over more mentally than physically.

"It's a hard one to gauge because you work so hard and not only do you lose but get injured and know the recovery is a long one."

After coming back through reserve grade in round 12, May has returned to being a regular fixture in the Panthers' NRL team as a bench utility.

Next year it's likely he'll take over the outgoing Tyrone Peachey's role as a Mr Fix It, given his ability to play in most positions after lighting it up across the field in junior age groups.

Preferably a five-eighth, May has spent time learning off James Maloney but is keen to wrap up a position in the middle for the Panthers and earn a regular starting role.

"With Jimmy (Maloney) here for the next few years I'm going to have to get myself a spot in the middle," he said.

"Play like a No.13, but change the way it plays a bit. Maybe play as a third ball-player on the field.

"It's good to have a few jacks in the toolbox. After Jimmy leaves, I don't know. I'll see if I still want to play five-eighth."