Forward just keeps giving his best


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14:  Jeremy Latimore of the Panthers is tackled during the round 14 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Sportingbet Stadium on June 14, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14: Jeremy Latimore of the Panthers is tackled during the round 14 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Sportingbet Stadium on June 14, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

JEREMY Latimore has played every game of 2014.

In rugby league circles it could be considered a miracle that a front-rower plays 13 straight NRL games.

Latimore puts his impressive streak down to one thing: nature's miracle.

"My son Orlando was born in the off-season and he's helped me narrow my focus so I don't think about too many things," he said.

"Instead of thinking about everything I can do in the game I just try to focus on a few things and do them really well.

"And at the end of the day I can come home and Orlando and my wife Natalie can put a smile back on my face if I've had a bad day."

Latimore, 27, has been the Panthers' unsung hero this year, one of only two Panthers forwards to play every game this year.

It's a far cry from his first season at the club, when he injured his ankle in the opening round last year and missed most of the year.

He has added consistency and durability to his size and strength to become a vital cog in the Panthers' charge to the top of the table.

In Saturday's 18-14 win against his former club St George Illawarra he ran for 97 metres and made 29 tackles — statistics that have become standard for Latimore in 2014.

His good form was rewarded with a new one-year contract last week.

"Personally, I've been happy with my form this year," the Port Macquarie product said.

"This has been the most consistent I've been in my career and I've taken a lot of confidence playing every week, instead of being in and out of the side.

"The last few years I feel like I've been improving and I was keen to come out this year and have a big year having missed most of last year."

He credited coach Ivan Cleary for creating a culture conducive to players reaching their potential, including himself.

He played under Cleary in the New Zealand Warriors in 2010 and 2011.

"I feel like I can play my best footy under Ivan. He has total faith in me," he said.

"Ivan creates an environment where you feel comfortable and it shows on the field.

"There's a great bunch of blokes out here and Penrith is a club on the rise with a strong junior base and I'm happy to be part of it."

Latimore said the challenge for him was to maintain his form in the second half of the year.

"Personally, I just need to stay consistent and injury-free — our reserve grade is on top of the table and there's a lot of internal pressure from boys trying to take your spot," he said.

"It helps the first grade team to know someone's there to take your spot if you're not performing."

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