Ivan Cleary has backed Jarome Luai as the incumbent to hold onto his State of Origin jersey for the New South Wales Blues in Game 1, but admitted it would be disrespectful to not consider other players.

Luai had what was easily his best game of the season on Friday evening as the Panthers recorded a 48 points to 4 victory over the Sydney Roosters at the foot of the mountains.

The game will undoubtedly bring Origin questions the way of Sydney Roosters' fullback and Blues captain James Tedesco, who was comprehensively outplayed by Dylan Edwards, but the game was also a chance for Luai to make a statement.

The five-eighth had been outshone by both Nicho Hynes at the Cronulla Sharks and Cody Walker at the South Sydney Rabbitohs over the first 11 rounds of the competition, but on the back of a horror show for Hynes against the Dolphins last weekend during Magic Round, Luai was at his best for Penrith on Friday.

Coach Cleary said all Luai could do is play well, and that his incumbent status must be considered in the debate over who will partner his son Nathan in Game 1, which will be played in Adelaide on May 31.

"I think it would be disrespectful to some of the other players in the six jersey. Guys like Cody Walker, Nicho [Hynes], but it would be disrespectful for those guys to not be considered," Cleary said.

"It was great to see Romey [Jarome Luai] play well tonight. That's all you have to do. You have to play well. If you do that, you give yourself a chance and he is the incumbent as well."

Nathan Cleary has already spoken out suggesting his combination with Luai should see the Penrith number six picked for Game 1.

2022 NRL Grand Final - Panthers v Eels
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai of the Panthers celebrate with team mates during the 2022 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium on October 02, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Luai came away from the big win over the Roosters with 135 metres from 17 carries, a try, two try assists and a staggering 11 tackle busts.

Coach Cleary said a performance like that had been coming.

"I think he has been trying really hard the last few weeks. He has been heavily involved in running the ball, defending well," Cleary said.

"I didn't think it was far away [a performance like that].

"I guess a lot of individuals, they get the outcome from a really good team performance and I thought that was the case tonight. Each individual did their job and a little bit more, you get really good outcomes and it gives everyone a bit of confidence."

Cleary also paid credit to edge forward Scott Sorensen, who has filled in for injured players around the club after turning himself into more of a middle third option during the 2022 campaign.

"I thought they have been pretty solid. [Scott Sorensen] has ended up on the edge this year just when Marto [Liam Martin] was out, Luke Garner got injured. I feel he has been really solid there and it has been good for Jarome.

"The pair have been growing together and I guess tonight was the fruit that came from all that work together."

Another possible Blue, Martin was able to play just his fourth game of the season against the Roosters as he returned from a hamstring injury, and Cleary was impressed with the performance of the representative forward, who also donned Australia's green and gold at last year's Rugby League World Cup.

"[Martin] looked like a guy who couldn't wait to play. He wasn't going to play that role until Spencer [Leniu] got hurt. It might have worked out not good for Spenc, but it worked out well for Marto and he made a real impact. Great to have him back," Cleary said.

"It has been a difficult time for him, especially for something that wasn't that bad. It was just a hamstring, but in the end, we had to give him a little bit more time. He made it count today, but it's early days and there is a lot of time ahead of him."

The Panthers, who have now run up at least 40 points on three occasions this year, face a difficult task against the Brisbane Broncos next Thursday, before observing their second bye of the year while players are in camp for Origin 1.