The Canberra Raiders will reportedly hand their first fullback jersey of the 2024 season to Jordan Rapana in a surprise move.

Coach Ricky Stuart was believed to be weighing up whether to throw Xavier Savage or Chevy Stewart the first number one jumper of the year, but it will instead go to New Zealand veteran Jordan Rapana according to a News Corp report.

Making the decision all the more curious are comments from Rapana throughout last year suggesting that he was done with playing fullback, and would prefer to be stationed on the wing for the remainder of his career - which could come to an end at the conclusion of the 2024 season.

Savage has had some first-grade experience previously, and while he is highly rated, has as yet failed to cement a position within Canberra's system.

Stewart, on the other hand, is the great white hope in the nation's capital and there are genuine hopes he will become the first-choice fullback within the side by the end of the season.

It appears that won't be happening at the start of the campaign though, with Stewart to instead start 2024 in the NSW Cup at fullback, while Savage will likely be reduced to a wing role in either first-grade or the NSW Cup.

Canberra have plenty of options to take Rapana's wing spot, with Savage joined in the fight for the two positions by James Schiller, Albert Hopoate, and Nick Cotric, who is expected to start on the other side of the field.

Throwing further uncertainty over Canberra's opening to the season is the fact Sebastian Kris will miss Round 1 suspended.

The centre played plenty of fullback throughout 2023 and could be the man thrown the number one jumper from Round 2, which would push Rapana back to the wing and one of the wingers out in what is already a crowded market in the nation's capital.

Canberra open their season on the road against the Newcastle Knights.