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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Monday is D-Day for Penrith Panthers star Jarome Luai as he races the clock to return in preliminary final against the Melbourne Storm

He underwent physiotherapy on Friday, was given his first full day off on Saturday and will return to training on Sunday when the premiers will do a light field session.

Penrith head physio Pete Green said everything had gone to plan thus far with Luai, but the only way to get a definitive answer was to see how he withstood being under genuine physical pressure.

The thought of Nelson Asofa-Solomona being shifted back to the same edge as Luai was not lost on some at the club.

Panthers star Jarome Luai at training as he looks to make a miracle comeback in Friday’s preliminary final.

Panthers star Jarome Luai at training as he looks to make a miracle comeback in Friday’s preliminary final.Credit: Panthers

“He’s doing really well with everything we have set out for him so far, but we’ve purposely held him back from that really uncontrolled physical stuff,” Green said.

“Until he gets through that, we won’t know. It’s looking pretty good he will play, but it’s unfair to say either way.

“Romy is a senior player, so I’d say the final decision will come down to how he feels. It will be a conversation for him and Ivan.”

Cleary suffered the same shoulder injury in 2021 and was back playing in six weeks. If Luai plays next weekend, he will have returned in four weeks.


Green said at the time of Luai’s injury: “If he did this injury in the first half of the year, he’d be out six weeks. But given what is at stake, we’re trying to squeeze six weeks into three or four weeks.

“We’ll push him hard, but he’s going to be sore, and he will be in a lot of pain. The pain will be the one thing that could stop him.”

Meanwhile, Penrith have begun filming another finals documentary, which will only be shown if the club wins a third straight premiership.

A lot of the footage has already focused on Luai and his recovery, including the Friday after the Eels game when he underwent scans.

Stream the NRL premiership 2023 live and free on 9Now.

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