Rookie playmaker Matt Burton pressed his claims to partner returning star Nathan Cleary in the Penrith halves after some words of wisdom from club great Brad Fittler.
Burton got a confidence boost from a call by the NSW Origin coach which helped him move past his field goal shocker against Newcastle, when he missed five attempts in the 14-14 golden-point draw.
The 20-year-old shone in the Panthers' 26-0 rout of the Warriors on Friday night with two tries and a try assist in arguably their best performance of the season.
Burton said he was dealing with plenty of "head noise" following the missed chances against the Knights.
"I got a few calls that really helped my out - Brad Fittler gave me a call and that helped with my confidence a lot," Burton said.
"We had a pretty good chat - I haven't spoken to him much before so it was good of him to give me a buzz."
Trent Barrett, who returned as a Penrith assistant this season after his stint as Manly coach, also helped Burton overcome his demons.
"Trent Barrett pulled me aside after the captain's run and said, 'You've got four kicks and I'm not letting you go until get them' - I hit all them four."
Cleary will slot straight back into his No.7 jersey to face Parramatta next Friday night after his two-game suspension for breaking social distancing protocols ends this week.
But whether Burton or Jarome Luai, who started the season at five-eighth, will partner him is now a selection headache for coach Ivan Cleary.
Fullback Dylan Edwards and forward Liam Martin are also expected to come back from injury, but it's Burton's two-week cameo that has left the coach with a tough decision.
Asked about his selection issues in the halves, Ivan said: "Yeah, we've got a few guys coming back next week, and a few guys playing well, so that's good.
"We'll look at it on Monday and work out what to do."
Ivan revealed Burton played more of a natural five-eighth role against the Warriors, which was in contrast to being the chief playmaker the previous week.
That could bode well when Cleary, the NSW State of Origin halfback, returns.
"We swapped their roles, Jarome's and Burto's role over, tonight, which is more what Burto's been used to doing," Ivan said.
"Romey played the role that Nathan played, which I thought he did really well, which allowed Burto to kick and run and not have to think too much."
Should other results go their way, Penrith could finish the round on top of the ladder for the first time since Ivan's controversial return to the club last year.
Australian Associated Press