Canberra captain Jarrod Croker says a fierce competition for spots in the halves will help the NRL Raiders cover the loss of star hooker Josh Hodgson.
Former St George Illawarra player Silvia Havili has the task of filling Hodgson's spot at No.9 while the England international recovers from knee surgery.
Croker believes having Aidan Sezer, Sam Williams and Blake Austin all battling it out for starting halves spots can only be a good thing.
The star No.3 said Havili - who has not played a NRL game since round 14 in 2016 - would not be overwhelmed by taking over from Hodgson.
"I don't think it will be bother him (Havili) too much because the halves have really taken ownership of this side and and that will help Silvia massively," Croker told reporters on Thursday.
"No one expected all three of them (Sezer, Williams and Austin) to squeeze into the 17 at round one, but they've all applied themselves well to breaking fitness, body fat and strength records."
Williams - who has returned to Canberra from a year in the English Super League - has forced Austin to the bench as he partners up with Sezer at No.7.
How the Raiders cope without Hodgson will define their season, but they will be sticking with the squad at their disposal.
Out-of-favour South Sydney hooker Robbie Farah had this week been thrown up in a move to Canberra, but AAP understands the Raiders have no interest or salary cap space for the veteran.
Croker said the Raiders were well prepared for their round one clash against Gold Coast on Sunday, which marks milestones for some Canberra favourites.
Star second-rower Josh Papalii will run out for his 150th appearance for the Green Machine, while Luke Bateman has been selected on the bench in his 50th game.
Ricky Stuart will coach his 100th game at the club where he played a major role in three premierships (1989, 1990 and 1994).
"He came back wanting to change the club and he's certainly changed the mentality of the squad for the better," Croker said.
Australian Associated Press