Clive Churchill medallist Luke Keary headlines a host of returning Roosters as Kevin Walters' son Billy earns a long-awaited first grade debut with Melbourne in the same week his father faces the biggest test of his coaching career.
Keary will return from a concussion-enforced lay-off for the Tricolours as they look to arrest a mid-season slump against the Tigers on Friday night, his first game since a heavy head knock in round 11 cost him a likely NSW Origin debut.
Big guns Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Ryan Hall and Sitili Tupouniua have also been included for the premiers, though Jake Friend (biceps) will be kept on ice for one more week despite pushing club medical staff to bring him back for the Tigers clash. Siosiua Taukeiaho is absent as he goes through concussion protocols following a head knock sustained against the Storm in round 15.
Walters' inclusion for Melbourne meanwhile is the biggest talking point in Thursday's match-up with the Dragons, with both teams missing a host of stars through Origin duty.
Walters, 25, has been named in Cameron Munster's usual No.6 jersey, having served a lengthy rugby league apprenticeship with Melbourne's feeder side Easts Tigers and considered giving up the game after a broken leg in 2017.
‘He’s been a pest’ – Luke Keary close to NRL return says teammates
He will partner Brodie Croft at the Storm scrumbase in Wollongong, with his dad in Maroons camp ahead of an Origin III clash that is expected to impact his NRL and representative coaching stocks whichever way the result goes.
Jahrome Hughes returns at fullback for the Storm, while mid-season recruits Solomone Kata and Max King have also been included in Craig Bellamy's extended squad with 197-centimetre prop Tino Faasuamaleaui has also been named to debut off the bench.
For the home side Jai Field and Darren Nicholls replace Queenslanders Corey Norman and Ben Hunt in the halves as the Dragons rejig a forward pack missing no fewer than five representative big men.
The struggling Broncos have also announced a host of changes headlined by Jake Turpin replacing the injured Anthony Milford at five-eighth and a pair of rookies in Herbie Farnworth and Xavier Coates being named on the wing.
Captain Darius Boyd moves back to fullback amid intense speculation over his playing future while mid-season recruit Rhys Kennedy has been named on the bench with James Segeyaro also slated to return.
Sunday's opponents Cronulla have named Kyle Flanagan on their bench after the Roosters' bid to poach him before the June 30 deadline fell through.
Meanwhile Saturday's Knights-Warriors clash will see Jacob Saifiti return for his first game of 2019 after suffering a broken leg in a pub altercation during the summer, while hooker Daniel Levi also makes an early return from an ankle injury.
Utility Kurt Mann has been named at centre to cover the loss of Edrick Lee (broken arm) while overlooked NSW prop David Klemmer has been named at lock.
Veteran Aidan Guerra is in line for elevation to the Knights starting 17 should Klemmer be called into Blues camp pending Tariq Sims' judiciary hearing.
The Warriors have stuck with the same starting 13 that went down to Penrith last weekend, with veteran Issac Luke and back-rower Lachlan Burr earning inclusion on Stephen Kearney's bench.