NRL Update: Cleary confirms Jarome Luai will play against Melbourne

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary revealed that star five-eighth Jarome Luai will be a certain starter for Friday’s preliminary final against the Melbourne Storm. This will be Luai’s first game back after he dislocated shoulder.

Luai is back on deck four weeks after his left shoulder popped out while trying to score a try against Parramatta in Round 26 that threatened to end his season on the eve of the finals.

The return of Luai is a huge boost for the Panthers who also get centre Izack Tago back from a pec strain while halfback Nathan Cleary will play after he was sent for a precautionary scan on a finger injury.

“Pretty much from the day it happened, it was all going to come down to the scans the next day,” Ivan Cleary said of Luai’s recovery. Once we got that scan, the news was pretty good and this game was always the one that the medical staff planned on him getting back for.

The Storm players are likely to target Luai in defence with giant forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona expected to run wider to get at the Penrith five-eighth.