Penrith and Melbourne have named Jarome Luai and Jahrome Hughes respectively as both playmakers bid to be passed fit for their NRL preliminary-final showdown.

Shaun Johnson has come through the Warriors’ semi-final win over Newcastle unscathed and has been named to lead his side’s charge away to an unchanged Brisbane on Saturday.

But the focus will remain firmly on Panthers five-eighth Luai and Storm halfback Hughes right until kick-off at Accor Stadium on Friday.

Luai hasn’t been sighted in the NRL since he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the penultimate round of the regular season, but is on track to return against the Storm.

The Panthers have soldiered on with Jack Cogger filling the void to partner Nathan Cleary, the former part of Penrith’s extended squad should Luai fail to pull through.

Centre Izack Tago has also overcome a pectoral injury to be named by Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.

Melbourne will hope to welcome Hughes back into the fold, too, after the Kiwi 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 able to feature as the Storm aim to topple a Penrith side who have had their measure in four of the last five meetings.

Tyran Wishart moves to the bench with Hughes’ inclusion and could find himself starting for Harry Grant, who thrived against the Roosters when injected from the bench.

Winger Xavier Coates (ankle) remains sidelined for the Storm and is not named in their 22-man squad.

Elsewhere, both the Broncos and Warriors have resisted changes with Brisbane coach Kevin Walters preferring Jesse Arthars on the wing over Corey Oates once more.

Johnson’s calf issue that ruled him out of the first week of the finals appears to have cleared, while Marata Niukore is named despite battling through the Knights win with a knee complaint.

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