The Penrith Panthers may have just won their third-straight NRL premiership, but heading into this season, they have yet to fill the centre spot left vacant by Stephen Crichton.

Crichton's departure, Taylan May's return from injury, and the rise of Sunia Turuva has created a problem for Ivan Cleary. This creates a headache for the Penrith coach, as he tries to fit both May and Turuva in the starting line-up, attempting to accomplish a four-peat.

Before sustaining a knee injury, ruling him out of the entire last season, May was the first choice to accompany Brian To'o on the wing.

However, no one counted on Turuva having a sensational season that saw him earn the Dally M Rookie of the Year award, beating Jahream Bula and Jacob Preston from the Wests Tigers and Canterbury Bulldogs, respectively.

"That's pretty much what it is, put the team first," Turuva toldĀ Zero Tackle regarding if he has a preferred position he would rather play this season.

"Whatever's best for the team, whether it's centre, wing, fullback, I'm just happy to fill in when I can."

The comments from the Fijian international will likely see him keep a spot on the wing as May revealed at the end of last year that he wants to return as a centre rather than a winger.

NRL Rd 23 - Rabbitohs v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Taylan May of the Panthers makes a break during the round 23 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers at Accor Stadium, on August 18, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Awarded the prestigious Rookie of the Year award and scoring 12 tries throughout the season, Turuva revealed his personal goals for the upcoming season and if there is any added pressure after coming off an incredible season.

"To be honest, I haven't really looked that far," he added.

"I think I just know that 2023 was a big season for myself, so it's just consistency now.

"Trying to back up last year to be honest."

"Nah, not really," he said on any added pressure for the 2024 NRL season.

"I knew that coming into this new season, (I) gotta have to accept the past for what it is (and) just big 2024 coming now."

Coming off his first season as part of the club's Top 30 roster, Turuva will be eager to continue his stellar form, especially considering he is off-contract at the end of the season and could be in line for a huge payday.

Another good year on the wing would also not see future superstars and young guns Jesse McClean and his brother Casey McClean replace him in the team for the 2025 season and beyond.

While he will find himself in the starting team for Round 1, many players are knocking on the door to replace him coming through the pathways system, so he will need to find that consistency he is looking for.