Penrith and Melbourne have named Jarome Luai and Jahrome Hughes respectively as both playmakers look to get fit for the NRL preliminary final showdown.
Shaun Johnson came through the Warriors’ semi-final win over Newcastle unscathed and has been named to lead his side’s attack in unchanged Brisbane on Saturday.
However, until kick-off on Friday at Accor Stadium, the focus will continue to be on the Panthers’ five-eighth Luai and Storm halfback Hughes.
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Luai has not been seen in the NRL since suffering a shoulder injury in the penultimate round of the regular season but is on track to return against the Storm.
The Panthers pushed on and Jack Cogger filled the void partnering Nathan Cleary. The former was called up to Penrith’s extended squad in case Luai didn’t make it in time.
Center Izack Tago is also over what Panthers coach Ivan Cleary calls a chest injury.
Melbourne will also be hoping to welcome Hughes back into the squad after the New Zealand international missed their semi-final win over the Sydney Roosters with a calf injury.
Hughes told reporters earlier this week he was confident he would be there as the Storm attempt to topple a Penrith side who have played their best in four of their last five meetings.
Tyran Wishart moves to the bench with the inclusion of Hughes and could start for Harry Grant, who thrived against the Roosters when brought in off the bench.
Winger Xavier Coates (ankle) remains out for the Storm and is not named in their 22-man squad.
Elsewhere, both the Broncos and Warriors are resisting changes, with Brisbane coach Kevin Walters once again favoring Jesse Arthars on the wing over Corey Oates.
Johnson’s calf problem, which ruled him out in the first week of the finals, appears to have healed, while Marata Niukore will be called up despite struggling with a knee complaint for the Knights’ win.