Penrith’s NRL premiership defence has been dealt a blow, with winger Taylan May ruled out for the entire season with a knee injury.

May was injured in a tackle during the first half of the Panthers’ World Club Challenge loss to St Helens, with scans confirming an ACL injury.

He had already been set to miss the first two matches of the year after having an off-field ban controversially deferred by the NRL late last season.

But he will instead now miss the entire 2023 season and will have surgery on his injured knee.

It comes after May crossed for 16 tries in a breakout rookie year for the Panthers last season, as he proved hard to stop on the left wing.

His work out of Penrith’s own end was also just as valuable, with he and Brian To’o regularly putting the Panthers on the front foot.

Fijian international Sunia Turuva will almost certainly be the player to replace May, with To’o likely to revert to the left wing and Turuva to feature on the right.

The club allowed back-up winger Charlie Staines to move to Wests Tigers over the off-season, in a player swap with Tyrone Peachey.

The Panthers have also lost Viliame Kikau and Apisai Koroisau to Canterbury and the Tigers respectively.

They face Brisbane at home in the first round as they look to win a third-straight premiership.