Tim Sheens has named a Wests Tigers team full of possibilities for the opening round of the 2023 NRL season against the Titans at Leichardt Oval on Sunday night.
The spine looks better than it has for years, mainly thanks to the recruitment of Origin hooker Api Koroisau from the premiers Penrith Panthers.
Koroisau, who has also been named as captain, will be key to any success the joint venture has this season.
His partners in crime will be Luke Brooks at half, Adam Doueihi at five-eighth and Daine Laurie at fullback.
Koroisau is one of four new recruits named in the run-on side by Sheens, who will be coaching the Wests Tigers for the 250th time.
Forwards David Klemmer and Isaiah Papali’I, along with winger Charlie Staines are the other three named. Brandon Wakeham has been named in the extended squad and is unlikely to play.
English recruit John Bateman, who only arrived in Australia on Friday, has not been included in the squad.
Also missing is winger Ken Maumalo, who injured his knee in the trial match against Canberra.
Koroisau, Luke Brooks and Joe Ofahengaue will play their first game of the season after being rested from both pre-season Challenge matches.
Leading into the naming of the team the club announced a contract extension for Adam Doueihi.
The new deal will see the highly talented five-eighth enter a fifth season at the club in 2024, after joining Wests Tigers at the start of 2020.
Doueihi was limited to just 11 NRL appearances in 2022 after returning mid-season from an ACL injury but is now injury free.
ROUND 1 TEAM LIST:
1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Brent Naden
4. Tommy Talau
5. Charlie Staines
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. Stefano Utoikamanu
9. Api Koroisau (c)
10. David Klemmer
11. Isaiah Papali’i
12. Shawn Blore
13. Joe Ofahengaue
14. Jake Simpkin
15. Alex Twal
16. Fonua Pole
17. AJ Kepaoa
18. Alex Seyfarth
19. Starford To’a
20. Brandon Wakeham
21. Justin Matamua
22. Junior Tupou