Despite earning both a premiership ring and a Blues jersey across the course of the 2021 season, Panthers forward Liam Martin has reportedly knocked back an initial contract offer to stay on at the feet of the Blue Mountains.
While Martin remains a contracted player with Penrith until the cessation of the 2023 season, the 'Temora Terrier' could well find himself playing his footy elsewhere in the near future if a secondary offer is left on the table.
According to reports from The Daily Telegraph, the 25-year-old was content to turn down a deal to retain his place under Ivan Cleary, with his market value said to reside within the vicinity of $750,000 per season.
Given Penrith now face the prospect of maneuvering a litany of in-form premiership players under their cap, the prospect of losing members of their drought-breaking side has become a very real threat.
And with Martin's reticent to agree to terms on a deal that would surely fall south of his aforementioned worth, the Panthers may soon be forced to do battle without both he and soon-to-be-Bulldog Viliame Kikau causing havoc from the second-row.
Though the recent recruitment of Luke Garner from Wests will offset some losses in this department, there remains very little prospect of obtaining players of Martin and Kikau's calibre on the open market that also come with a bottom-dollar price tag.
Martin has been part of the Panthers' system since making his way from country NSW to the fringes of the big smoke as a teenager to feature for the club's SG Ball outfit.
Should a deal to remain in Penrith's licorice all-sorts strip fail to be agreed upon across the coming months, the three-time Origin representative will be afforded the right to speak with suitors as of November 1.
Martin has been selected to start for Cleary's charges in Magic Round where they will face the rampant Melbourne Storm in what could well be a genuine grand final preview.
Kick-off in the most anticipated clash scheduled for the festival of footy is set for 7:45pm (AEST) on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.