As Jarome Luai is set to be ruled out of the World Club Challenge match against the Wigan Warriors, the Panthers are ready to unveil a youngster in the five-eighth role.

Likely to be the future replacement of Luai when he moves to the Wests Tigers next season, a young 20-year-old country boy is set to be the frontrunner to join Nathan Cleary in the halves this weekend against Wigan.

Edging out new recruits Brad Schneider and Daine Laurie, Jack Cole is understood to wear the number six jersey in the World Club Challenge match, per The Daily Telegraph.

A former Under-19s NSW representative in 2022 and also Jersey Flegg Player of the Year, Cole is considered one of the best young talents at the club and has been biding his time in the junior ranks and NSW Cup.

A one-time NRL player, Cole spoke about the impact that former NRL playmaker Daniel Mortimer has had on his career. Mortimer is his former captain-coach at Orange CYMS when he retired from the NRL.

“I had one year there with him, which I did a bit of training with the first grade side and learnt a bit off him,” Cole told The Daily Telegraph from Manchester.

“He went back up to Queensland for a year. Now he's back captain-coaching again, which I think is really good for the club. He'll be good for them, really good.

“He's obviously won a premiership and he knows what he's doing.

“He's a pretty switched on sort of dude. I was just soaking it up at training. Just seeing how competitive he is. It's a really good edge he has on a lot of people.”

Cole's emergence onto the rugby league scene has made him the latest talent from Orange, following the likes of Mortimer, Jack Wighton and James Maloney.

He also isn't the first player scouted by the Penrith Panthers from a regional town. Several stars, including Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin, arrived at the NRL from towns such as Bathurst, Dubbo and Forbes in regional Australia.

“It's good for the country kids to see that they can get an opportunity here. Penrith are really good with that, getting out west, watching the games,” Cole added.

“I think it's really good for the country kids, giving them that hope and knowing there's a possibility they can be down if they work hard enough.”