Panthers halves look good to face Titans

James Maloney and Nathan Cleary should be available for Penrith's NRL clash with the Gold Coast. (AAP)

NSW State of Origin hero James Maloney will back up for Penrith in Friday's NRL clash with Gold Coast while Nathan Cleary is also looking good to play.

First-choice halves pairing James Maloney and Nathan Cleary look set to line-up for Penrith in Friday's NRL clash against struggling Gold Coast.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary confirmed on Thursday that NSW five-eighth Maloney will back up after helping the Blues win this year's State of Origin series on Wednesday.

"He seems pretty good, obviously happy with how everything turned out last night," Cleary said.

"At this stage he's going to back up for us."

Halfback Cleary was in the stands for the Origin decider after being ruled out due to an ankle injury but the No.7 will be given every chance to prove his fitness to face the Titans.

The Panthers are chasing revenge after being one of just four teams to lose to the Titans in 2019 - a 30-24 defeat in round five.

Since then the Panthers have gone from wooden spoon contenders to finals aspirants after a five-match winning run that has lifted them to 10th position.

Cleary admitted the mid-season revival had altered his expectations and he was eyeing off a top eight finish.

"The best thing about our team is we are on the way up," he said.

"I sincerely think our best performances are ahead of us. That's really all we're worrying about."

Under-fire Titans coach Garth Brennan says regardless of how good the Panthers are going, if his team turns out a similar display to their insipid 30-12 loss to Manly last time out, they'll slump to another defeat.

"We understand the threats that Penrith bring but at the end of the day we've got to be better than what we were last time we played against Manly," said Brennan, whose fate is set to be sealed when a mid-season review's findings are delivered to the club's board on Monday.

"If we don't perform better it doesn't matter who we're playing."

The Titans head south without ex-Panther Tyrone Peachey, while young centre Jesse Arthars has been dropped to make way for the returning Dale Copley.

Jarrod Wallace shifts to lock with Jack Stockwell elevated to the starting 13; Jai Whitbread and Will Matthews both dropped back to the bench.

KEY MATCH STATS

* Penrith are eyeing off three consecutive home wins over the Titans for the first time.

* If the Panthers score less than 20 in this game and win, they will become just the sixth team in history to win six straight games when scoring 20 points or less and the first since South Sydney in 1967-68.

* If James Maloney kicks a field goal he'll become just the second player since 1980 to kick a one-pointer in five consecutive first grade matches after Steve Linnane managed the feat for St George in 1987.

Source AAP

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