You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Panthers halves Matt Burton and Tyrone May.

Jarome Luai is a chance to return next round, but in the meantime Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has faith that Matt Burton and Tyrone May will click as a halves pairing.

Penrith's two losses this season came when Burton and May deputised for NSW stars Luai and Nathan Cleary in the State of Origin period.

Coach Cleary said he is "hopeful" that Luai could overcome a knee injury for next week's clash with the Broncos but his son isn't expected back from a shoulder issue until round 20 at the earliest.

He added that Burton and May "look comfortable together" ahead of Sunday's game against the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium.

"They know the system. They're not going to play like the other boys, but there's a certain system that we play with as well. I'm pretty confident those guys will go all right," Cleary said on Saturday.

Warriors v Panthers - Round 18

"The first time Burton and T-May played together [as halves] was against the Tigers [round 13]. That was a bit of a scrappy game for us.

"The following week against the Sharks, we lost the game in the first half through no fault of those two boys. It's going to take a bit of time obviously. You even saw in the Origin the other night without Nat and Romey, things change. It's just not as fluent and that's to be expected."

At this stage, Cleary is expecting Origin quintet Api Koroisau, Isaah Yeo, Brian To'o, Kurt Capewell and Liam Martin to back up from Wednesday night's series finale but will "finalise that this morning".

Frame by frame: A unique look at the 2021 Origin series

And with rep footy in the rearview mirror, the Panthers are keen to get back into their regular groove leading into the finals as they jostle with the Storm to secure back-to-back minor premierships.

"It's probably after this week's game where we'll get some sense of normality in terms of the way we prepare,"  Cleary said.

"Having Origin players out, it's not just the games they miss or the level of scrutiny and the intensity they go through in Origins, but you miss having them at training for six weeks, effectively.

"They might pop in here and there ... we had Api, Nat, Jarome and Yeoy, our main prongs in terms of our spine [on Origin duty].

"When you don't have those guys training for six weeks, your rhythm is certainly upset a bit. We are looking forward to some normality.

"Who knows, it might be a blessing that this little move we've made [to Queensland] last week is sort of like a new dawn for us in terms of restarting our season into the big games at the end of the year."

Analysing the Maroons' resurgence in Origin III

Elsewhere, Cleary said his squad was positive despite the delay in families being approved to join NSW and ACT-based clubs in their South-East Queensland bubbles to escape the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We've got some of our staff members doing an amazing job just liaising with a lot of the guys, all the partners," he said.

"It's just another hurdle you've got to get over. One thing you've got to be in the last couple of years is really adaptable in the game itself, but also [with] external factors as well. It's a real test for everybody."