Luai firming to play in Penrith's preliminary final


Jarome Luai is firming to play in Penrith's NRL preliminary final against Melbourne, with the star five-eighth on track to overcome his shoulder injury for the clash.

Luai trained with Panthers teammates on Sunday morning at the foot of the mountains, getting through a ballwork session with light contact as they ramp up preparations for Friday night.

Penrith will have another light session on Monday with players to be given Tuesday off before a crucial full-contact opposed session on Wednesday.

But the signs are good for the 26-year-old, who has not played since dislocating his left shoulder against Parramatta three-and-a-half weeks ago.

AAP has been told Luai was able to get through a similar opposed session last Wednesday, and is considered likely to play in the preliminary final.

"He looked good out there," fullback Dylan Edwards said.

"I think he still has a couple of boxes to tick, but he is working hard and looking good.

"He's got a few more days of training to go and he'll keep working on it."

Luai's inclusion would be significant for Penrith.

While Jack Cogger has impressed at five-eighth in Penrith's last two matches, Luai and halfback Nathan Cleary have won 83 of 94 games starting together at all levels since under-20s at Penrith.

Izack Tago looms as another possible key in for Penrith.

The centre also got through Sunday's training session, after being a late withdrawal from the qualifying-final win over the Warriors with a pectoral injury.

The injury was only considered a strain, rather than a full tear, and he is rated some chance of playing on Friday night at Accor Stadium.

If he does not recover in time, Luke Garner will likely be the man to fill in at right centre after the regular second-rower moved one spot wider against the Warriors.

"Everyone trained and everyone is looking fit and healthy," Garner said.

"It would be the same thing again this week (if I am asked to play centre). Train hard with them and work on what we need to work on.

"I felt comfortable out in the centres, I have probably played 10 or 15 games there in my career so it wasn't something foreign to me.

"It made it pretty easy when I was defending next to Bizza (Brian To'o) and Nat (Nathan Cleary)."

A wooden-spooner last year at Wests Tigers, Garner and fellow recruit Tyrone Peachey could complete the rare feat of going from last-placed to premiers in the space of 12 months with two wins in the next fortnight.

"I am probably in the complete opposite situation to what I was a year ago," Garner said.

"But it's good, it feels right. It feels like the season should still be going.

"It hasn't hit me yet. We're still not there yet. We have a big game this week, we haven't spoken about the big one yet."