Ryan Matterson is set to make his return from a concussion in NSW Cup with Parramatta taking a cautious approach to the second-rower's comeback.
Four weeks after he copped a heavy hit in the round-two win against Melbourne, Matterson is expected to play around 60 minutes for the Eels against South Sydney at Ringrose Park on Saturday.
For the past few weeks Matterson has been named in Brad Arthur's 21-man NRL squad but dropped out close to game day as he suffered recurring concussion symptoms.
He didn't fly with the team to play Brisbane at Darwin's TIO Stadium on Friday night but Arthur said Matterson is the most confident he has seen him over the past month.
"He's definitely playing this week but he'll be playing Cup," Arthur confirmed on Thursday.
"He'll get 60 minutes (on Saturday), avoided the travel, and this is the best way for him to come back.
"He bounced in on Tuesday, ready to go, and that was the most confident I've seen him.
"You can usually tell with body language, so I could tell he was ready to play.
"I told him what our plans were around playing reserve grade and he put his ego away and trained unreal."
Matterson has a complicated history with concussion and Arthur said there was no way he would risk playing him at anything less than 100 per cent recovered from his latest hit.
As a father of kids who play contact sports, Arthur said he was particularly careful with his players and their health.
"I'm all for the boys playing tough and getting out on the field not at 100 per cent but that's one area we won't run the gauntlet with," Arthur said.
"The club was on board with it and our doctors were right on board with it.
"As a dad, yes, but I feel like I'm a dad to all of them as well so it's part of my job."
Matterson's return to the field could have on field implications for contender for buy of the year Isaiah Papali'i, who has filled in brilliantly on the edge.
The ex-Warriors forward has been reinvigorated at the Eels this season and relished the switch to the second row in Matterson's absence.
However, should Matterson return to the NRL side as expected to play Canterbury next week it could force the 22-year-old back to the bench.
"I'll do whatever the team needs, BA is quite open and honest and every week is a new week," Papali'i said.
""I see a little bit of (buy of the year talk) on social media and stuff, it's still early days but hopefully I can just carry on performing and make sure I'm playing good footy at the back end of the season when it counts."
Australian Associated Press