PENRITH captain Matt Moylan needs an explosive return from injury against an in-form Parramatta on Sunday to close the gap on State of Origin rivals James Tedesco and Josh Dugan.
Tedesco and Dugan have lit up the NRL in the opening month to the point where Moylan has become the forgotten man of Origin discussions among New South Wales commentators.
It has taken the talented Moylan longer than expected to get back on the field following stress fractures in his back, detected just before the season kicked off.
During his absence, Tedesco and Dugan have staked their claims for the NSW No.1 jumper, which many judges had tipped would be Moylan's following his return from an ankle injury that cut short his 2015 campaign.
Blues coach Laurie Daley is understood to favour selecting Tedesco at fullback for what would be his Origin debut in game one against Queensland in Sydney on June 1, with Dugan to line up in the centres where he has played for NSW previously.
A big game against the miserly Eels at Pirtek Stadium would remind everyone, Daley included, of Moylan's ability to play at the top level.
His return will be a great boost for Penrith, which was an unlucky 18-16 loser to the Bulldogs in round two, before knocking over Brisbane 23-22 and losing to the Dragons 16-14 last week on the back of a late Dugan try.
The Panthers could easily be 3-1 and in the top half on the ladder, instead of 14th and only ahead of the winless Newcastle and Roosters.