Manly are planning to deploy recruits Matt Parcell and Apisai Koroisau in a two-pronged rake attack this NRL season.
With the reduction in the interchange from 10 to eight, some coaches are considering whether they can still afford the luxury of carrying a utility on the bench.
The changes in rules is intended to shake up the style of play and open the game up for the little men against tiring forwards.
It will also have a major impact on the way sides rotate their forwards and leaves little room for teams to carry a spare hooker on their bench.
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett recruited hookers Parcell and Koroisau after telling veteran No.9 Matt Ballin he was free to leave the club.
Parcell is a highly-rated youngster who caught the eye of several clubs after starring for Ipswich in last year’s Queensland Cup, helping the side to the NRL Interstate Championship.
Koroisau has enjoyed stints at South Sydney and Penrith but has been attracted to the north shore in search of a starting spot.
Neither Parcell (hamstring) nor Koroisau (shoulder) will play in the side’s final pre-season trial against Ipswich at Pittwater Park on Saturday but are expected to be cleared for round one.
Barrett did not give away who will start come round one but said he was planning to include both in his 17.
“They’re both totally different players,” Barrett said.
“Api and Matty are both very important to us and they’ll both play at some stage.”
Should Barrett’s two-hooker approach not prove effective, he has a fallback with his squad boasting several utilities capable of slotting into the back-row and dummy half.
Blake Leary, who will start at No.9 against the Jets on Saturday, injured former NSW Origin utility Jamie Buhrer and Lewis Brown could fill both roles, giving Barrett room to experiment.
“Lewis Brown also gives us that option, Blake Leary gives us that option and so does Jamie,” Barrett said.