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Viliame Kikau fitness in the balance for NRL final

Penrith fear Mitch Kenny won't play again this year while they continue to sweat on Viliame Kikau's ankle injury ahead of their NRL preliminary final against Melbourne.

Kenny and Kikau are expected to get updates on their injuries on Monday, after both were hurt in Saturday night's semi-final win over Parramatta.

The Panthers were unable to get full clarity over the pair's fitness on Sunday after a late-night return to the Sunshine Coast from Mackay.

Kikau's potential absence would be the biggest blow for the Panthers, given the threat he can offer on their potent left edge.

He pulled off the match-saving tackle against the Storm in their grand final rematch in March, and has provided big impact off the bench.

He returned to the Panthers' base in a moon boot and the club is hopeful it is not a syndesmosis injury that would likely end his season.

"He just got a really big gash on his leg and rolled his ankle," coach Ivan Cleary said of Kikau.

"Hopefully, it's just a lateral sprain and not syndesmosis. Which I don't think it is.

"Mitch Kenny looks like he has done something pretty serious too ... we'll be trying to find some fresh bodies for next week."

Kenny was hurt in the dying minutes of the 8-6 win, causing controversy when play was stopped with the Eels on the attack and Kenny behind play.

The Panthers fear the back-up hooker's injury is serious, and under NRL rules trainers can request play is stopped if a doctor is required on field to treat a serious injury.

However replays show a Panthers trainer had not attended to Kenny or begun to assess him when the request was made to stop play.

That incident remains under the microscope of the NRL, with Parramatta fuming after the match given it cost them momentum and an overlap.

If Kikau is missing, it's likely Penrith could bring rookie second-rower Izack Tago onto their bench, or use an extra middle - Matt Eisenhuth or Spencer Leniu.

Tyrone May shapes as a possible replacement for Kenny, dependent on him overcoming a knee issue.

Otherwise, Jaeman Salmon is the other option.

Brian To'o should at least return from an ankle injury, giving Penrith back a weapon on their left wing against a Storm team that has spent the past fortnight resting and preparing.

Cleary also conceded halfback Nathan Cleary is continuing to manage his shoulder injury but denied it was affecting the No.7's on-field play.

The 23-year-old was as rattled as he has been at any point since his return, clearly clutching at his shoulder in pain after trying to make a tackle against the Eels.

He will face off-season surgery that will delay his preparations for next year, but Penrith are hoping the shoulder holds together for two more games.

"I think he is OK. Everyone is a bit bruised and battered after that but it's certainly better when you win," Cleary said.

"I don't think he is playing with discomfort. There is a bit of management there, but he is OK."