SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Liam Martin of the Panthers celebrates scoring a try during the round 12 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Panthers Stadium on May 30, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Penrith suffered their first on-field setback of 2023 following a minor training injury sustained by Kangaroos starter Liam Martin.

The back-rower was undertaking a wrestling session at training earlier in the week when the 'Temora Terrier' suffered an injury to his AC joint.

The shoulder injury leaves serious question marks over Martin's fitness for the World Club Challenge, as the Panthers face St Helens in a bid to win their first WCC trophy.

Penrith lost both the 1991 and 2004 World Club Challenges to Wigan and Bradford respectively and didn't get the chance to play St Helens last season due to COVID.

Martin's injury is a massive blow for Penrith with the club already trying to fill a Villiame Kikau-shaped hole on the left edge following his defection to Canterbury, opening the door for both Luke Garner and Zac Hosking to play in the clash.

Garner had been favoured to start on the left edge, though by all reports Hosking has been training the house down and remains in the frame for selection.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Ivan Cleary is taking an extra cautious approach to the pre-season, and won't risk any player with a minor injury or niggle, leaving massive question marks over Martin's availability.

The club had been boosted by the back-rower's re-signing, tying himself to the club through to the end of 2024 on Wednesday, just six weeks after a starring Kangaroo debut at the World Cup.

NRL Rd 9 - Sharks v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Liam Martin of the Panthers waves to the crowd after the Panthers won the round nine NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

While he still ran laps with the side at training on Thursday, The Daily Telegraph states that the aggressive forward reframed from contact drills, and will be racing the clock to make Panthers history.

Penrith will face Parramatta and St Helens during the pre-season challenge, before facing the Brisbane Broncos to open their season on March 3rd.