After missing out on the 2023 Grand Final in favour of a younger Jesse Arthars, Corey Oates is set to return to the starting team for Round 1.

A 201-game veteran of the NRL, Oates struggled last season, having only played in nine games and failing to score any tries. It is a surprising statistic, considering he has scored 118 career four-pointers.

However, the departure of Herbie Farnworth to The Dolphins and the abrupt transition of Selwyn Cobbo from the wing to the centre opens up a vacant spot on the left wing - a position in which Oates has excelled for most of his career.

The Courier Mail has revealed that the veteran winger is in the box seat for the vacant wing spot, with Kevin Walters set to choose him over rising star Deine Mariner for the season-opener.

While Mariner will likely miss out on playing in Round 1, he is currently playing on the right wing as Jesse Arthars remains restricted at training after sustaining an ankle injury, according to the publication.

The surprising news comes after it looked like Oates would be let go by the club before locking in a new contract for the 2024 season.

“It's really good to see him out there in the pre-season,” teammate Corey Jensen said.

“He's the same age as me so he's not getting any younger.

“We find ways to get little niggles, but it's good to see him on the paddock and training well too.”

The Brisbane Broncos will open up their 2024 campaign against the Sydney Roosters in Las Vegas as part of the season-opener double-header with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly Sea Eagles.