Veteran Peter Wallace is likely to start the season at halfback for Penrith after being named in a near full-strength side for their NRL trial against Parramatta on Saturday.
Wallace’s short-term future at the club has been clouded since Ivan Cleary was axed last October for former Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin, who dumped Wallace from the Broncos in 2013.
The 30-year-old, who is on the comeback from a second straight ACL injury, was also replaced as captain by youngster Matt Moylan late last month.
However, after coming through unscathed in a 20-minute return against Canterbury last week, he has now been given an opportunity to nail down the No.7 jumper when he partners Jamie Soward this weekend.
Moylan resumes his place at fullback, while new buys Peta Hiku, Trent Merrin and Suaia Matagi will all start in the 20-man squad. Rising talent Te Maire Martin is on the bench.
Kiwi representative Dean Whare has been rested after straining his calf against the Bulldogs, but is understood to be available for round one.
Earlier on Thursday, Penrith boss Warren Wilson stepped down from his role as Panthers Group CEO, citing personal reasons.
Wilson, who has been in the position since March 2012, controlled all matters pertaining to the chain of Panthers Leagues clubs along with an overarching role at the NRL franchise.
He has previously been mooted as a possible candidate to fill the vacant NRL CEO’s role.
Penrith open their season against Canberra on March 5.
Panthers: Matt Moylan (c), Josh Mansour, Waqa Blake, Peta Hiku, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Trent Merrin, James Segeyaro, Suaia Matagi, Tyrone Peachey, Elijah Taylor, Isaah Yeo. Bench: Will Smith, Leilani Latu, Te Maire Martin, Bryce Cartwright, Jeremy Latimore, James Fisher-Harris, Sitaleki Akauola.