Fijian flyer Mikaele Ravalawa is set to make his NRL debut on Saturday night after being named on the wing for the Dragons round one clash with North Queensland.
The 21-year-old has been selected ahead of highly-fancied youngster Zac Lomax, who has been relegated to 18th man for the fixture.
After arriving from Canberra in the off-season, Ravalawa was impressive during the Dragons two trial matches, scoring a double at WIN Stadium against the Knights. Lomax, a natural centre, struggled in his stints on the wing and was exposed in the loss to South Sydney.
"He's certainly an athlete," Dragons coach Paul McGregor said after the win over Newcastle. " Six foot two, 93 kilos, he can run, changes the ball in each hand, fend with either arm, explosive.
"We've just got to keep working with him, he's only new to our systems. He's a big boy and something we're looking for as outside backs, that speed and size."
The selection of Ravalawa is the only big surprise in the 21-man squad named by McGregor on Tuesday afternoon, with the side to closely resemble that which started in the Charity Shield.
With Jack de Belin's suspension officially confirmed on Monday, Tyson Frizell will line up at lock, while Jacob Host steps into the second row.
After such a tumultuous off-season, Dragons captain Gareth Widdop said the squad is looking forward to taking the field for their first match of the year.
"It's obviously exciting," Widdop said. "It was a tough pre-season, as they all are, it feel like it goes on forever.
"Obviously with all the stuff that happened in the off-season, it's good the positive stuff's back now and the football's here and I think the team's ready to go.
"It's a tough trip to Townsville this week, but the boys are fired up and ready to start playing playing playing."
The Dragons will be without de Belin for at least the opening five rounds after the Federal Court set the date for the final hearing of his challenge of the NRL's new no fault stand down policy for April 16.
The NRL has confirmed the no fault stand down policy will continue to apply in the period leading up until the court proceedings are resolved.
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