Manly coach Des Hasler isn't convinced Josh Reynolds won't make a surprise appearance for Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
Reynolds has been named as 18th man for the Tigers in their opening-round clash with the Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval, with Benji Marshall claiming the No.6 jumper.
He also survived the mandatory two-man cull on Friday night, remaining a part of the Tigers' 19-man squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Hasler coached Reynolds for six seasons at Canterbury - including two grand final appearances - and he believed there was still a chance the playmaker could play as a bench utility for the Tigers.
"He's just a great competitor," Hasler said.
"It's a long season, I can imagine he's still in the 18. You never know, Madge (coach Michael Maguire) might have a few cards up his sleeve. We'll wait and see."
Meanwhile, Hasler said the option of having Trent Hodkinson as a utility player was important in deciding the make up of his own round one side.
Kane Elgey has earned the No.6 jersey, while Hodkinson has previously played hooker at times for Manly last season.
"Hodko has that utility value about him as well as being an experienced campaigner," Hasler said.
"(Kane)'s had an injury as well but he's a really accomplished player. He's got that natural speed and a good left-foot kicking game and looking forward to getting on the pitch."
Brendan Elliot will start at fullback for Manly in place of the injured Tom Trbojevic, while Reuben Garrick will debut on the wing as part of an inexperienced backline that's also missing the suspended Dylan Walker.
"It's not so much a backs-to-the-wall (situation). There's a confidence in their ability to get the job done," Hasler said.
"It's an exciting time for them and at some stage youth is always going to come through with injuries.
"But we're very pleased and really (confident) that these young fellas will acquit themselves really well."