Wests Tigers on clouded nine
After shaking off last season's differences, Robbie Farah and Jason Taylor must now swiftly turn their attention to the question that prompted the disharmony between the pair; who will play hooker for the joint-venture club in 2016?
With Farah's future at the club in limbo last year, Wests Tigers moved quickly signing two-time premiership-winning Sea Eagle Matt Ballin on a two-year deal.
Ballin, a former Queensland State of Origin representative, tore his ACL at the back-end of 2015, and is likely to miss the opening few rounds of the new season.
Farah has made it clear that he welcomes the arrival of his new teammate, rubbishing suggestions that there's any ill will between the pair.
"He's probably a bit behind the eight ball with his rehab," Farah said about Ballin's recovery.
"Matt's a great guy – he's the ultimate professional. He's fit into the group really well. There's absolutely no tension between Matty and I. Couldn't be further from the truth. I'm really looking forward to seeing him out on the field when he's 100 per cent fit."
Fitness is something that could have an effect on the entire playing roster - including the former skipper - with interchanges coming down from 10 to eight in 2016.
Farah only managed 80 minutes on five occasions last season, and with the game set to quicken in 2016, the 32-year-old acknowledges he may need a deputy.
"I do understand I'm getting a bit older and playing 80 minutes week in week out is going to be difficult over a long year, so there's going to be opportunities there for the other hookers, and we'll do whatever's needed for the coaching staff," Farah said.
Those other hookers include young-gun Manaia Cherrington, who only missed two games after making his NRL debut in Round 13 last year.
A two-time member of NYC Team of the Year, Cherrington earned rep honours at the end of 2015, travelling to the UK as a member of the extended Kiwis squad.
The speedy 21-year-old is seen as Farah's long-term replacement, but he'll have a fight on his hands, with Holden Cup No. 9 Jacob Liddle impressing players and coaching staff during the pre-season.
"Cherro came back a bit later after touring with the Kiwis which would’ve been a great experience for him," Farah said.
"Jacob's had a really good pre-season as well. He's another promising talent, and they're two kids that after myself and Matty are gone, hopefully they can stay and take this club forward because they're both going to be quality number nines."
Teammate Dene Halatau praised the work ethic of the younger players at the club, singling out Cherrington as the man he'd like to see orchestrate the ruck in the years to come.
"There's a whole bunch of blokes coming up from our 20s squad who have trained well and stepped up to the NRL standard," the back-rower said.
"Manaia Cherrington, he's picked up where he finished off last year, obviously getting a few first grade runs. He's got really sharp hands out of dummy half and he's got a big career as a nine in the NRL."