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Scott Bailey

Schneider follows long line of Penrith's student No.7s

Former Raider Brad Schneider gets his chance to follow in the footsteps of Nathan Cleary at Penrith. (HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS)

Liam Martin can see similarities between Sean O'Sullivan, Jack Cogger and Brad Schneider.

And it's not just because Schneider will follow in the footsteps of the others and stand next to him on Penrith's right edge against the Sydney Roosters.

"They're all students of the game," Martin said. 

"They're usually the hardest working players, like Sean and Coggs definitely were. And Schneider, he's no different."

Schneider will on Thursday night begin his own journey in the most coveted role for fringe first-grade halfback in the NRL when he deputises for an injured Nathan Cleary.

Two years ago it was O'Sullivan who signed up as Penrith's back-up half. 

He played 11 games and by the time the Panthers won the 2022 premiership he was signed to be the Dolphins' inaugural halfback.

Cogger's rise was even more significant.

Signed to replace O'Sullivan as the back-up halfback, he played one of the most important roles in last year's grand-final comeback.

And if it hadn't been for a big-money contract he signed with Newcastle, it's likely he would have been the man Penrith viewed as their next No.6 next year.

"I think it's maybe something to do with the culture," Martin continued. 

"When they come here they fully immerse themselves. 

"Like you look at all of them.I think he'll be fine and probably be the exact same as them and go out and kill it."

Schneider has trod a similar path to Cogger.

The Adelaide-born playmaker got his chance in the NRL at Canberra three years ago, but like Cogger has spent a brief period plying his trade in the Super League.

The 23-year-old's 12 games in England last year have given him valuable experience as a dominant half, ready to guide Penrith's attack when required this year.

"I just just want him to play his own game and fit into our system," coach Ivan Cleary said. 

"That's why he came here. He's followed a couple of other halves that have done well in that in that role in the last couple years."

Nathan Cleary's absence on Thursday night will likely stretch into next week against Manly.

But it is not the only issue the three-time defending premiers are dealing with.

James Fisher-Harris will be back in the country for Thursday's match after time in New Zealand for personal reasons, but has not recovered from a shoulder injury.

Scott Sorensen is also expected to miss four weeks with a knee injury, in an early-season hurdle for the Panthers.



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