Luai expected to play in season opener, coach confirms

Jarome Luai in action. Photo: NRL Images.
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Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary today cleared any doubt about Jarome Luai hitting the pitch this weekend against the Melbourne Storm.

Coach Cleary dispelled the rumours by saying that the five-eighth is expected to play.

“He’s doing really well. So, at this stage we are expecting him to play,” he said.

Luai suffered a shoulder injury against the Eels late last year and returned for the Preliminary Final and Grand Final before succumbing again in the decider.

When pressed about the other injured players, Sunia Turuva and Scott Sorenson, Cleary said they too were looking good to play.

“They [Turuva and Sorenson] are doing pretty well. They’re all looking good,” he said.

“One day at a time, one game at a time.”

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary. Photo: Melinda Jane.

The Panthers will play the Melbourne Storm this Friday, March 8 in a round one blockbuster.

The Panthers come up against an unusual statistic with Craig Bellamy’s team having never lost a round one game under the coach.

Cleary shared that the matchup is something he looks forward to.

“It is a pretty impressive stat; every time we play Melbourne it is always a massive challenge,” he said.

“It’s a matchup you really look forward to, regardless of what happens, because you’ll come out with a better idea of what you need to be, how good you’ve got to be, and this is no different. Looking forward to it.”

Cleary said he thinks the unusual statistic will motivate the team.

“He [Bellamy] obviously knows how to prepare his team,” he said.

“I’m sure our boys will be motivated.”

Emily Chate

Emily Chate joined The Western Weekender in 2024, and covers local news - primarily courts and politics. A graduate of the University of Wollongong, Emily has contributed to The Daily Telegraph and worked as a freelance journalist.

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