BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Jarome Luai of the Panthers celebrates with Matt Burton of the Panthers after he scored a try during the 2021 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium on October 03, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

He hasn’t played since Round 19, but the Penrith Panthers are already assessing Jarome Luai’s workload as the defending premiers prepare for the final weeks of their title defence.

The team are still without playmaker Nathan Cleary for two more weeks due to suspension, but will also welcome back prop James Fisher-Harris this week following his own spell on the sidelines.

Though Luai is confirmed to play the Warriors at home this week, there are suggestions he’ll be one of a multitude of Penrith players rested next week for the team’s final-round trip to Townsville.

“We’ll just see how he goes,” coach Ivan Cleary told AAP.

“We’ve got a couple of plans – things can change very quickly in footy.

“He’s missed four games. That type of injury, it’s better to get out there and get him going.

“He’s chomping (sic) at the bit, too. Very keen to get him out. There’s no way we would have played him if there was any risk (of re-injury).

The Panthers have dealt comfortably with a number of changes to their side as they’ve managed the impact of injuries and suspension as well as losing a large group to State of Origin duty.

The constant alterations and absence of key personnel has barely affected the squad at all, standing them in good stead for the upcoming finals campaign after giving so many members of the larger playing group a healthy dose of first-grade experience.

“There are a lot of factors and each year is different,” Cleary said of the run to the finals.

“This year has been different to the last year, situations are always changing.”