His halves pairing with Matt Burton may have finally clicked but Tyrone May says NSW playmaker Jarome Luai's return can't come soon enough for Penrith.
The stand-in halfback registered his first win in three games combining with Burton at five-eighth as the Panthers outlasted an injury-hit Warriors 30-16 at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
It helped Penrith finally complete the tricky Origin period with a 4-2 record featuring two losses with May deputising with Burton in the halves.
While May felt the hard work with Burton was finally paying off, he hoped Luai would be back from a knee injury as expected against Brisbane next round - even if the return costs him a starting spot.
May was happy to finally break his duck with Burton but looked forward to Luai adding some X-factor to a Panthers outfit he felt had plenty to improve on if they were to vie for a second straight minor premiership.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Panthers
"Credit to the Warriors. To be down to 13 and show fight and heart was good," said May after the Warriors battled on despite having their bench cleared by halftime.
"But it wasn't convincing enough from us I think.
"I think we can be better than that and we will have to be coming into the games ahead.
"We went away from what we are good at and let them off a hook a bit."
May impressed with three line-break assists and three try assists, helping guide a Panthers outfit that had welcomed back all their Origin III players - Api Koroisau, Isaah Yeo, Brian To'o, Kurt Capewell and Liam Martin.
Crichton flicks a pass out to Staines
But May still looks forward to the day Luai is back at the reins.
"It would be good getting him back. You saw the form that he was in," May said.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he was back next week. He is very resilient in the way he goes about his rehab.
"It wouldn't be a shock to anyone if he came back earlier than expected."
Burton partnered Luai before he broke down earlier this month and it remains to be seen how Penrith use May as they sweat on the return of NSW No.7 Nathan Cleary (shoulder).
Cleary is not expected back until at least round 20.
May said he wouldn't feel any pressure stepping up again in the halves as Penrith reset in their Queensland bubble.
Looping pass has To'o over in the corner
"We had a couple of games where we were rusty but we trained a lot together and I think that was our third game so it was good to get the win," May said of his growing chemistry with Burton.
"I don't feel the pressure to step up [in Luai/Cleary absence].
"It is just about blocking out what other people say and focus on what we have to do - there's no pressure from within.
"But now the [representative] period is over it will be good to have our Origin guys get some cohesion.
"They have been week-in, week-out propositions over the last month or so.
A Kava ceremony comes to Suncorp
"Now we have to get the ball rolling. We are up here now but we are already connected as a group - it's like just being back at school."
Penrith's win on Sunday helped retain second place, but they are on the same 32 competition points as ladder leaders Melbourne.
The Storm's remarkable 434 points difference ensures them top spot.
After setting the early pace with 12 straight wins, Penrith can get a timely pre-finals gauge when they line up against the all-conquering Storm in a fortnight.