Sydney Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner is expected to return to NRL duty against in-form Penrith despite the shorter lead-up to State of Origin II.
Cordner was rested for Saturday's 18-16 win over Newcastle, with coach Trent Robinson electing to let the back-rower recover from his starring 80-minute shift for NSW in Wednesday night's Origin series opener.
The 26-year-old turned out for every club game this season until going into Blues camp, though it was only a year ago he missed numerous rounds in the representative period in order to overcome injury and lead NSW.
The rare decision to schedule this year's Origin II for Sunday week will give Cordner and other players less time for recovery and preparation following this weekend's matches.
But fellow Roosters skipper Jake Friend had no doubts he'll be fine to play the Panthers on Friday at Allianz Stadium.
"With that shorter prep and less time between games, they decided to rest him," Friend said.
"The idea was to rest him so it's just a game every week instead of every three or four games in that period. I expect him to play this weekend.
"I suppose it's a good problem to have to be able to have blokes like Vic (Radley) and Nat Butcher and Lindsay Collins all vying for positions and being able to fill spots.
"I'm not sure if Robbo will try and rest everyone through this period or not but I'm sure it'll be beneficial for the boys if they can have a game off throughout this period with how tough Origin is."
James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell returned to Roosters headquarters after superb Origin outings for NSW, while forward Dylan Napa shone for Queensland despite the loss.
All three backed up against the Knights.
On Friday, Robinson's sixth-placed side face the second-placed Panthers, who got the job done against Canberra last Friday and will be eager to strike again while their own Origin quartet are still on board.
Friend expected more of the same from the competition frontrunners.
"They've been pretty impressive for a lot of the season," he said.
"It's a big challenge but it's a challenge we're all excited about. They're top of the table so we sort of get to see where we're at against one of the better teams in the comp."