HE has been described by Penrith teammate Trent Merrin as the toughest player he has ever seen, but Peter Wallace has another definition for it.

“I wouldn’t call it tough. I’d call it stupid maybe,” Wallace said.

Penrith’s stand-in captain is determined to squeeze every ounce of his battered body to help the Panthers book a ticket to the NRL finals with a win over Manly on Saturday.

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Last week’s loss to St George Illawarra was his return from a broken hand suffered against North Queensland that only kept him out for one match.

Before that Wallace had broken three ribs, but not even that could prevent the Panthers hooker from gritting his teeth in their win over the Cowboys the following week.

“I got flung to the ground against the Tigers and couldn’t protect myself. But I played the next week and broke my hand. It’s part of the game,” Wallace said.

“I only missed one game. The way it worked out, we didn’t play (against St George Illawarra) until Sunday so got a bit of extra time.

“They put in a plate in there but otherwise it’d be six weeks. They put a plate in there and it’s pretty much good to go. It’s just whether you can get full range and can play in a bit of pain.

“I somehow am just able to play through a bit of pain.”

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Wallace, who famously finished a match after tearing his ACL halfway through a game in 2014 and ruptured a testicle in 2008, credited part of his early return from the broken hand to the birth of a child.

The 31-year-old was meant to be out for three weeks.

“It was a pretty hectic couple of weeks actually. A baby on the Wednesday, played Saturday, broke my hand, had surgery the following Wednesday,” he said.

“It was actually good, it forced me to use my hand and get it moving, changing nappies and baths and that kind of thing.

“The important thing to be able to play the next week, I had to get moving and get my range back as quick as I could.”

Wallace’s major motivation is pushing the Panthers into September, especially in the absence of regular captain Matt Moylan.

“If it was the start of the year or halfway through the year, probably might not have played last week,” he said.

“But just where we are in the year, it’s come to the end of it, games are very important at this time of the year. If I can play, I will.”

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