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 to head off a list of wingers including John Olive and Tyronne Roberts-Davis to start the first game of the season – though one of the latter could come into calculations if Anthony Don doesn't overcome a shoulder injury.
New names like Jai Arrow, Jack Stockwell and Leilani Latu could all feature in first grade either starting or off the bench.
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 Anthony Don*, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Brendan Elliot, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jack Stockwell**, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Joe Greenwood, 13 Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Will Matthews, 16 Leilani Latu, 17 Morgan Boyle. Reserves: 18 Jai Whitbread, 19 Keegan Hipgrave, 20 Brenko Lee, 21 Karl Lawton.
*In doubt for round one with shoulder injury. **Jarrod Wallace is suspended at the start of the season.