The Brisbane Broncos suffered a dramatic fadeout at the back end of 2022, and will look to right those wrongs in 2023.
There is a very real chance that Kevin Walters' future as a head coach is hanging on it, but they have certainly made yet more strides in the recruitment market in an attempt to overcome those issues.
Reece Walsh and Martin Taupau both arrive at the Broncos ahead of the 2023 campaign, while the club haven't lost much out of their best 17 from last year, with the only departures of any note being Tesi Niu, Te Maire Martin and Jake Turpin.
That doesn't mean the Broncos are automatically in a good way though, with plenty of questions remaining over their best 17.
Here is how the side will line up this year.
Ins: Logan Bayliss (2023), Jock Madden (Wests Tigers, 2024), Ethan Quai-Ward (2023), Tyson Smoothy (Melbourne Storm, 2023), Martin Taupau (Manly Sea Eagles, 2023), Reece Walsh (New Zealand Warriors, 2025)
Outs: Tyson Gamble (Newcastle Knights), Zac Hosking (Penrith Panthers), Jamayne Isaako (The Dolphins), Ryan James (retired), Rhys Kennedy (Hull Kingston Rovers), Brenko Lee (The Dolphins), Te Maire Martin (New Zealand Warriors), David Mead (retired), Tesi Niu (The Dolphins), Jake Turpin (Sydney Roosters)
Re-signed: Patrick Carrigan (2024), Selwyn Cobbo (2025), Herbie Farnworth (2023), Kobe Hetherington (2025), Delouise Hoeter (2024), Blake Mozer (2025), Corey Oates (2025), Billy Walters (2024), Xavier Willison (2025)
Jesse Arthars, Logan Bayliss, Kurt Capewell, Patrick Carrigan, Selwyn Cobbo, Herbie Farnworth, Thomas Flegler, Payne Haas, Kobe Hetherington, Delouise Hoeter, Corey Jensen, Jock Madden, Ezra Mam, Deine Mariner, Blake Mozer, Corey Oates, Cory Paix, Keenan Palasia, Jordan Pereira, Brendan Piakura, Ethan Quai-Ward, Adam Reynolds, Jordan Riki, TC Robati, Kotoni Staggs, Martin Taupau, Reece Walsh, Billy Walters, Xavier Willison
Who plays where?
When Reece Walsh first signed with the Broncos, it looked as if there would be a three-way race for the number one jumper at Red Hill this season.
That means Reece Walsh is the certainty to line up at the back, and the Broncos are short now on depth in the department, so they will be sweating on Walsh not picking up an injury.
Selwyn Cobbo and Herbie Farnworth both have long-term ambitions to play fullback though, so even though they will be named elsewhere, they are the realistic front-runners to fill in if there is a problem, while either Delouise Hoeter or Deine Mariner could also get the job done in a pinch.
Both had excellent seasons last year which ultimately saw them represent Queensland at State of Origin level, with Oates called into the squad at the back-end of the series.
Cobbo is one of the game's brightest young talents, and while he had a poor end to 2022 marred by a concussion and injury, at his best, he would be a walk-up start to most teams in the competition.
Oates, on the other hand, goes under the radar, but is one of the strongest wingers in the competition and his average of almost 170 metres per game is pivotal to Kevin Walters' side.
As mentioned, there is plenty of competition lining up to be the number one back-up to the duo, with Jesse Arthars returning from his year on loan at the Warriors and Jordan Pereira, joined in the squad by young guns Ethan Quai-Ward, Deine Mariner and Delouise Hoeter.
As is the case on the wing, there are two clear standouts, followed by a whole host of competition lining up to back them up.
Both have put together some incredible seasons in recent times, and will likely continue to go up the gears this year as the Broncos push for their long-awaited return to the finals, which looked all but certain with seven weeks to play last year.
Hoeter, Mariner and Quai-Ward, who are all back-up on the wing, can also all play in the centres, while Arthars can do the same, with the Broncos possessing an excellently versatile backline.
Reynolds, in the number seven, was crucial to the Broncos last year, with his experience paving the way for the side to push for a top-four spot for much of the season.
Mam made his debut before the halfway point of the season, and while he had a fadeout at the back-end, another pre-season and the games in his legs will make him a real threat in 2023.
Madden leaves the back-up brigade at both six and seven, while any of Reece Walsh, Billy Walters or Cory Paix could fill in if needed. Young gun Josh Rogers is also on a development contract at the club.
The signing of Martin Taupau in recent weeks means Brisbane have a fearsome middle third rotation, to go with what was already one of the competition's best starting groups.
Payne Haas and Thomas Flegler will start at eight and ten, while Patrick Carrigan, who played for Queensland and Australia last year, while also being rated as a future Broncos' captain, will line up at lock.
Where the trio lacked was experience, but Taupau, who will take a spot on the bench, brings that in spades.
He could quite easily slot into the starting side if needed, while the Broncos have some excellent back up in the middle third, with Corey Jensen and Keenan Palasia joined by Xavier Willison and Logan Bayliss, who are both still looking to make their mark on first-grade.
The number nine jersey is where it gets somewhat interesting for the Broncos.
Paix almost certainly will be if the duo continue performances consistent with that they managed last year, but it's Blake Mozer who holds the challenge.
The Queensland under-19 representative is rated as the next Cameron Smith, and almost without doubt, is the best young dummy half in the game.
He can't be named in this team, but expect him to be there at some point.
Riki has gradually been building in recent seasons into a suitable first-grade weapon for Kevin Walters, while Capewell brought all sorts of experience with him last year on his move from Penrith and was one of Brisbane's most important.
He will have to continue in that role this year.
The back-up in the second-row is far skinnier than other positions though, not helped by the fact TC Robati has stood himself down on account of off-field issues.
The bench will see either Paix or Walters in number 14, although don't be surprised to see Mozer here sooner rather than later. We have handed the start to Paix, so Walters comes from the bench.
Martin Taupau, with his experience and impact off the bench, is the second automatic selection.
The best 17
1. Reece Walsh
2. Corey Oates
3. Kotoni Staggs
4. Herbie Farnworth
5. Selwyn Cobbo
6. Ezra Mam
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Payne Haas
9. Cory Paix
10. Thomas Flegler
11. Jordan Riki
12. Kurt Capewell
13. Patrick Carrigan
14. Billy Walters
15. Martin Taupau
16. Keenan Palasia
17. Brendan Piakura