Gold Coast Titans predicted Round 1 line-up
An overhauled pack, the recent signing of Bryce Cartwright and Michael Gordon's recruitment to replace Jarryd Hayne headline the change on the Gold Coast under new coach Garth Brennan.
The coach's relationship with Mitch Rein from Penrith should see the former Dragons rake well in the frame for an NRL spot, even if just on the bench, while local boy Brendan Elliot returns home to edge out Tyronne Roberts-Davis to start the first game of the season. Cartwright could play anywhere from the back row to five-eighth but we've given him a bench spot at this stage. Anthony Don's injury moves Dale Copley to wing with new recruit Brenko Lee to start at centre.
New names like Jai Arrow, Jack Stockwell and Leilani Latu could all feature in first grade either starting or off the bench - particularly in the early rounds with Jarrod Wallace suspended and Ryan James reportedly returning to the second row.
NRL.com expert Jamie Soward says:
"Five-eighth is the position. Kane Elgey is under a lot of pressure. Last year through injury he didn't show the form he showed coming into first grade. Ash Taylor needs a guy there that's going to be on the ball and be consistent in what he's doing. Do they have an answer if Kane's not performing?
"They do get stronger in the hooker role with Nathan Peats and Mitch Rein. That could be a real tactic for Garth Brennan going forward using that up-tempo speed out of dummy-half with Rein and he can come on and help control a game with Ash Taylor.
"They pick up some great forwards in Latu and Stockwell who've been around. Their pack's going to compete, it will be whether they can score points. And leaking points on an edge could be a problem for the Titans."
NRL.com's predicted Round 1 team:
1 Michael Gordon, 2 Philip Sami, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Brendan Elliot, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Leilani Latu, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Jai Arrow, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Ryan James 13 Bryce Cartwright. Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Joe Greenwood, 16 Will Matthews, 17 Morgan Boyle. Reserves: 18 Jack Stockwell, 19 Max King, 20 Keegan Hipgrave, 21 Tyronne Roberts-Davis.