Sydney Roosters playmaker Mitchell Pearce looks set to return and give his side some much needed direction as they face the embarrassing possibility of exiting the NRL finals in straight sets.
The minor premiers are becoming increasingly confident the NSW half will come back from a hamstring injury for the side's must-win semi-final against Canterbury on Friday night.
Pearce has been telling teammates he expects to take the pitch after missing the last fortnight.
"He ran last week and he'll run again today," fellow co-captain Jake Friend said.
"Fingers crossed he'll come through that all good.
"I've talked to him and he thinks he'll be right and hopefully that's the case."
Pearce took part in the warm-up at Roosters training on Monday but he and back-rower Boyd Cordner (hip) were both onlookers during the first few drills before the session went behind closed doors.
While Maloney and rookie half Jackson Hastings were outstanding in the Roosters' round 26 demolition of South Sydney, they at times lacked organisation and their fifth tackle options were poor in their qualifying final loss to Melbourne.
Pearce's game management nous would be warmly welcomed as the Tri-colours seek to lift themselves off the canvas.
After the game Trent Robinson said his troops failed to match Melbourne in the wrestle while Friend said their defensive resolve, which had defined them for much of the season, was lacking.
"It was disappointing on the weekend, we didn't control Melbourne very well," Friend said.
"We're looking forward to getting into training today and tomorrow and doing a bit on that and then putting it into action on Friday night.
"A few of the boys are hurting and it'll be good to get back out there Friday."
Cordner declared himself a certain starter on Friday despite suffering a hip injury against Melbourne.
Cordner copped a knock in the first half but played through pain for the rest of the match.
He said he would likely carry the problem for the rest of the season but was adamant he would not miss any game time.
"I went up and I saw the physios and the medical staff and I was able to play the rest of the game," Cordner said.
"It won't be any different this week, I'll be working really closely with the physios and the medical staff here at the Roosters.
"I'll be sweet by Friday, it's not a massive injury or anything.
"You can't do any more damage. It's just one of those things that's going to be there for a bit and I'll be sweet."