Wests Tigers new boy Tyrone Peachey is still expecting a very tough game against Melbourne Storm despite them being without a host of key players.
The Tigers are priced at 4/1 to finish in the top eight of the NRL this season and play finals for the first time in 11 years.
Melbourne Storm are again one of the hot fancies to go all the way and win the grand final this season and the Tigers could not have a much harder start.
The Storm have never lost a round one encounter while coach Craig Bellamy has been in charge for the last three 23 seasons, but Wests may not get a better chance.
Josh Addo-Carr, Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes have all left the Storm, while Harry Grant and Cameron Munster will be out suspended.
Ryan Papenhuyzen could be out through injury but Peachey says whatever side Bellamy puts out, it will be a strong one.
"They've got a few players out and that's lucky for us," Peachey said. "We have to take advantage of that because they were really good over the trials. I watched their games and they've got a big forward pack.
"They haven't lost the first round in years. It would be pretty special to get that win and we've got to have a good week of preparation."
Meanwhile Tigers winger Ken Maumalo says the changes that have been made during the off-season will make a big difference for the campaign ahead.
Jackson Hastings and English international Oliver Gildart have signed while there have also been changes to the coaching set-up.
"We've added (defence coach) Nathan Cayless from the Roosters," Maumalo said. "Him being successful and coming into this club has been massive.
"They (the Storm) are tough opposition but we're ready to compete."