The popular opinion might be that it's time for Nicho Hynes to make his State of Origin debut in Game 1 on May 31 in Adelaide, but Nathan Cleary doesn't want a change in the halves.

Cleary has played alongside Jarome Luai - his Penrith Panthers' halves partner - throughout the last two series, with the club combination seen as a big advantage by coach Brad Fittler.

Tie that in with lock forward Isaah Yeo, and it has been a Penrith party in sky blue, even if it was anything but a party last year as a new-look Queensland side under the coaching of Billy Slater snatched the series.

That, combined with the exceptional form of Nicho Hynes, who won the Dally M Medal in a landslide last year, as well as the average start to 2023 by Penrith, has left Hynes the front runner for the number six jumper to partner Cleary.

While Fittler is yet to publically comment on the matter, Cleary, speaking after Penrith's win over the Warriors on Saturday afternoon during Magic Round in Brisbane, said he wants Luai to remain alongside him in the number six jumper.

“I think it is just the fact that when you are tired that combination is there and you don't actually need to talk to each other,” Cleary said during the post-game press conference.

“I think me and Jarome have built that over a long period of time.

“At the end of the day I am not the one to answer who should be there, but I really enjoy playing with Jarome and playing alongside him. I have done it for a long time.

“I've been lucky to do it for a long time now and we have been lucky to come through the grades together and play on the biggest stage with and against each other.

“I just enjoy playing alongside him.”

While Hynes is playing at halfback for the Sharks, the star has plenty of experience at both fullback and five-eighth throughout the course of his career, even if not at NRL level in the number six.

His running game, combined with the kicking that will take pressure off Cleary, has left little doubt Hynes could make the grade in Origin.

Luai has added just three try assists from nine games in 2023, and while he has run the ball strongly at 88 metres per game, Penrith's form certainly isn't what it was over the last two seasons, with the men from the foot of the mountains winning just five of their nine games to date in what is one of the closest competition's for years.

Fittler will name his team for Origin 1 on Sunday, May 21 following the completion of Round 12, leaving just two more rounds for players to push their selection case.