Jack Cogger is ready to help dig Penrith out of a hole as Jarome Luai faces an injury lay-off heading into the finals, declaring he was recruited for the exact scenario the Panthers face.
Luai, Penrith's dual premiership-winning five-eighth, dislocated his shoulder in the 32-18 loss to Parramatta on Thursday night and will go in for scans on Friday.
The finals are only a fortnight away but Penrith are hopeful Luai's season may not be over.
But coach Ivan Cleary said there was "absolutely" a chance the side would need to push for a third consecutive title without their attacking livewire.
"It's a decent injury but medical staff are fairly positive about the potential of it," Cleary said.
"Really, we're not going to know until he gets scans."
Cogger switched to the halves mid-game against the Eels, just as he did when halfback Nathan Cleary suffered a hamstring injury against St George Illawarra in early June.
If required, he is the logical choice to replace Luai on the run to the finals and beyond.
"You're obviously shattered when you see a teammate go off with what could be a serious injury," Cogger said.
"Knowing Romey, he's pretty tough and he'll bounce back but it's never good to see your teammates go off the field."
Cogger insists he would not be daunted by the prospect of playing five-eighth as the season intensified with finals.
After all, Cogger's job description all along has been to parachute in as the understudy, just as Sean O'Sullivan did for the Panthers in the 2022 season.
"I knew what my job was when I came here," Cogger said.
"I could've played one game, I could've played the whole year depending on what happened.
"I've done the work, this was what I was here to do, in case one of the boys went down or over the Origin period, someone to step in and the team not to lose any momentum.
"If that is the case, I'm confident I can do the job."
Like Cleary, Cogger is a natural game-manager so slotted in comfortably while the Panthers' regular halfback was injured earlier in the year.
Replacing Luai poses a different challenge. The 26-year-old's running game is his strength and gives the Panthers an X-factor on the left edge.
"I won't try and be Jarome, he's a pretty unique player," Luai said.
"I won't take that full game management role but I think Nath and I have a pretty good relationship and we can come up with a way that will benefit both of us and the team going forward."
The Panthers' halfback threw his support behind Cogger.
"Coggs has played enough first grade through his career to know what to do," Cleary said.
"He's got a cool head on his shoulders.
"I hope that Romey's all right but I have a lot of faith that me and Coggs can get the job done."