South Sydney have been granted an exemption to bring Taane Milne into their NRL qualifying final squad, adding another twist to the dramatic build up to their clash with Penrith.
Milne was not named in the Rabbitohs' 21-man squad for Saturday night's match when team lists were revealed on Tuesday, with the winger a surprising omission.
However his name popped up when the squad was cut down to 19 men on Friday night, after Souths were granted an exemption by the NRL earlier in the week.
It's understood the Rabbitohs accidentally placed Lachlan Ilias in the squad ahead of Milne, before Penrith were notified of the change on Wednesday.
The official reason given to the NRL was a communication breakdown, which is not entirely rare.
But the change has the potential to raise eyebrows.
Milne would be the man most likely to come onto the wing if coach Wayne Bennett makes a late switch for Alex Johnston to go to fullback instead of rookie Blake Taaffe.
It comes after a dramatic war of words erupted between the two clubs on match eve.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary claimed the Rabbitohs' out-of-the-ordinary high penalty counts in games against the Panthers this year showed they'd tried to rough up his side.
Cleary also made a plea for the NRL to protect his halfback son Nathan, fearing the Rabbitohs would go after him when kicking on Saturday night.
The Panthers are wary of a repeat of a late and high shot from Cameron Murray on Cleary that went unpenalised in a game between the two sides at Kogarah last year.
But Bennett hit back in a fiery press conference on Friday, accusing the Panthers of practising illegal block plays to protect Cleary and the NRL of leaking his approach to officials.
Bennett claimed blockers were moving from side to side to stop kick pressure on Cleary.
That assertion didn't got unnoticed by the Panthers, who privately believe there is evidence of South Sydney using illegal blockers in the opening stages of their clash last month.
Australian Associated Press