Jarome Luai and Jahrome Hughes have been selected for the Panthers and Storm in the NRL preliminary final teams

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.

Jarome Luai and Jahrome Hughes have both been named to return from injury. Credit: Getty Images

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.

The Wahs lid is off and Shaun Johnson has made it clear the Warriors have their sights set on the NRL grand final.

The Wahs lid is off and Shaun Johnson has made it clear the Warriors have their sights set on the NRL grand final.

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: jamesbrien@24ssports.com.

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