Things never quite clicked for the Gold Coast in 2018 and Garth Brennan will want the squad to figure things out sooner rather than later in 2019.
The biggest question marks are over what to do with breakout star AJ Brimson, who must be in the starting side, and which of three viable options will start at five-eighth alongside Ash Taylor.
There is a chance veteran fullback Michael Gordon could be the odd man out if young gun Brimson is retained at fullback rather than reverting to five-eighth, where recruits Tyrone Peachey, Ryley Jacks and the returning Tyrone Roberts are also options to partner Taylor.
Peachey is also an option at centre, where Dale Copley, Brenko Lee and the returning Brian Kelly are already competing for two spots.Gordon can also play wing, though Anthony Don and Phillip Sami are settled there. Ex-Raiders prop Shannon Boyd bolsters what is now an all-representative starting pack.
Resident NRL.com expert Jamie Soward says:
"I would leave AJ Brimson at fullback and start Tyrone Roberts at five-eighth. The decision for Garth Brennan is does he put Tyrone Peachey on the bench or play him in the centres. The five-eighth role, Peach can handle it and will probably get first crack but Ash Taylor needs an experienced guy outside him and his record with Tyrone Roberts is really good.
"Their forward pack is in the best five or six in the comp but they look skinny out the back so maybe Peachey goes to the centres for Dale Copley, someone like that. Michael Gordon, I think realises he's a back up option these days, Brimson has shown he's capable of handling fullback and those two guys on the wing can handle it."
NRL.com's predicted Round 1 team:
- AJ Brimson
- Anthony Don
- Dale Copley
- Brian Kelly
- Phillip Sami
- Tyrone Peachey
- Ash Taylor
- Shannon Boyd
- Nathan Peats
- Jarrod Wallace
- Kevin Proctor
- Ryan James
- Jai Arrow
- Mitch Rein
- Moeaki Fotuaika
- Keegan Hipgrave
- Will Matthews
Other squad members: Jesse Arthars, Morgan Boyle, Bryce Cartwright, Michael Gordon, Ryley Jacks, Max King, Leilani Latu, Brenko Lee, Tyrone Roberts, Jack Stockwell, Jai Whitbread