Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is confident star playmaker Corey Norman will return from injury to team up with Mitchell Moses in the halves in the NRL clash with North Queensland.
Norman hasn't played since injuring his knee in the round-10 loss to the Sydney Roosters, but has trained strongly ahead of Saturday night's match against the Cowboys in Darwin.
Arthur said the new halves pairing would take time to gel, but backed their energy and instinct to carry them in the meantime.
"They're going into a game with only two sessions together so they're going to be a little bit disjointed at times," Arthur said on Friday.
"But they'll play with plenty of energy and at some stage I'm sure they'll link together and look like they've been together for a while."
Parramatta's new halves combination is likely to see the in-form Clint Gutherson move into the centres as they look for a third-straight victory.
They are also looking to keep their perfect record in Darwin in tact with a fourth win at TIO Stadium.
"The last couple of times we've been on the back of a couple of losses in a row so we've been pretty desperate," Arthur said.
"This time we come in different circumstances on the back of a couple of wins and a bit of confidence - and the return of Normie.
"It's just a good opportunity to get them away together and really narrow our focus our down to football and football only."
Meanwhile, Johnathan Thurston took another step towards his return when he flew to Darwin with the Cowboys on Thursday.
Coach Paul Green has said he would like to make a call before Friday's captain's run, with rookie five-eighth Kyle Laybutt set to make his debut if Thurston isn't fit.
The champion playmaker was a late withdrawal from the two sides' last meeting in round nine when Parramatta won 26-6 in Townsville.
Arthur said Parramatta have prepared for Thurston to play.
"He's a quality player - he's one of the best in the world," Arthur said.
"If he plays it's a big lift for them and he's a really important in for them."
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