PARRAMATTA coach Brad Arthur has given NSW Origin back Will Hopoate first shot at filling Jarryd Hayne's No.1 jumper against Manly in a round-one clash hyped up by stinging comments from former Sea Eagle Anthony Watmough.
Watmough has lit the fuse for a fiery clash with some sensitive pre-game comments about his former club as he prepares to make his debut for the Eels who are trying to pinch Kieran Foran from the Sea Eagles next season.
Reece Robinson, recruited as insurance for Hayne, will get a start on the wing in a Parramatta line-up that, with the likes of Chris Sandow, Corey Norman, Watmough and new skipper Tim Mannah, could spring an upset at home.
Queensland and Australian utility Matt Gillett has been handed a bench role for the Broncos with returning coach Wayne Bennett opting for Sam Thaiday, Alex Glenn and 300-game milestone man Corey Parker as his back row for tomorrow night's season-opening special against defending premiers South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium.
Souths have named John Sutton in its starting line-up despite his involvement in a boozy incident with a teammate in Arizona earning the club a $20,000 fine from the NRL this week.
Former Manly forward Glenn Stewart makes his debut for the Rabbits, replacing the club's grand final hero Sam Burgess.
Australia's youngest ever Kangaroo player, Sione Mata'utia, has surprisingly been named 18th man in Rick Stone's Newcastle squad against the Warriors, who will welcome ex-Melbourne player star Ryan Hoffman into their pack.
The troubled Titans, meanwhile, have named a squad to clash with the Wests Tigers that does not include any of the five players facing court appearances on drug charges.
Kierran Moseley and Eddy Pettyborne have named in a back row weakened by the absence of representative enforcer Greg Bird.
Josh Hoffman will make his debut for the Gold Coast in his preferred fullback position.
Reports are mixed about the chances of Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith recovering from off-season ankle surgery to play against the Dragons at Jubilee Oval on Monday night.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy says he will monitor Smith's progress at training before making a decision.