Merrin a confirmed NRL starter for Penrith

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin has confirmed Trent Merrin will play against Newcastle on Friday despite suffering a compound dislocation of his finger last week.

Talented youngster Jarome Luai will also make his NRL debut off the bench, becoming the fifth rookie to be blooded by the Panthers during their current injury crisis.

"At some stage during the game, I'll get him on there and shuffle our side around a little bit to get him on there," Griffin said on Thursday.