NSW State of Origin hopeful Nathan Cleary can handle expectations to deliver immediately on his highly anticipated return from injury next week, according to Penrith coach Anthony Griffin.
All eyes will be on the Panthers' halfback on Thursday night when he runs out against his dad's Wests Tigers, giving him two NRL games to impress before teams are picked for the Origin opener in Melbourne.
Griffin was unfazed by the pressure on Cleary to find form quickly.
"That's just a result of his performance. He's done very well - it is what it is. It's a credit to him that he's put himself in that position," Griffin said.
"He's handled everything that's been thrown at him so far in his career. If they pick him for Origin, I'm sure he'd handle that as well. I don't think the expectation is a problem for him."
While the Panthers have been resilient in moving into the top four, despite their injury crisis, Griffin believes there is also a silver lining in Cleary's extended time on the sideline.
"He's been around the team the whole time, he's come to all our games and gives his thoughts to the playmakers and watches the game very closely as well," Griffin said.
"It's probably been good for him in a way. The injury was out of his control but how he's spent the last 7-8 weeks has been good for him to be able to sit back and watch and learn about himself."
Tigers coach Ivan hoped his son wasn't coming back too soon.
"I tried to tell him he shouldn't be coming back too early. In all seriousness, he shouldn't be. But that's not for me to decide. I'm sure he's got some very good medical opinion and staff out there at Penrith," he said.
"He's really been pretty lucky in terms of injury since he started playing football, really. He's a bit grumpy early on but he seems to be okay."
Meanwhile, Griffin also confirmed Panthers boss Phil Gould was continuing talks with Josh Mansour's manager over renewed hope the representative winger could stay at the club.
Mansour is expected to begin rehabilitation from multiple facial fractures next week after rejoining the playing group on Thursday.
"It's the first day he's been back since his operation and, hopefully with his rehab, he's on target for about six weeks before the playoffs to get back," Griffin said.
"That's the main thing from our end. The other stuff, the other guys will take care of that."