North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green has set the stage for a heavyweight clash in this Friday's grand final rematch, with 16 players from last year's premiership decider named in his squad for the Suncorp Stadium showdown with the Melbourne Storm.
The other three players in the 19-man squad for Friday's game are Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and new recruit Jordan McLean, who will be facing off against his old team in his first game for the Cowboys.
The team is the strongest Green has been able to name in 12 months, and the quality of the players was not lost on the premiership-winning coach.
"You want all of your players available for selection....we need to get our heads around what awaits," Green said.
"Really interested in seeing how everyone goes for the first real hit out for us I think."
Green privileged to be part of Testimonial
Green has yet to speak to McLean about taking on his old side, but is glad the opportunity has arisen in a trial match, where only pride – and not points – are on the line.
Green, who switched clubs in his playing career between the Cronulla Sharks, the Cowboys, Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters and the Parramatta Eels, was confident McLean would adapt quickly.
"I probably will have a chat to [McLean], but it's good that we play them (Storm) pretty early in the year so we get that one out of the way," he said.
"It also allows Jordan to get his head around it by the time we come up against them again when it really matters.
"It's different, you're used to warming up with those guys as opposed to facing up against them… if he does feel uncomfortable it should only last a little while and once the ball gets kicked off I think he'll rip in like everyone else."