Knights prop Herman Ese'ese has been controversially left out of the squad and will miss Friday night's NRL season opener against Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Despite missing just one game for the club last season and making his New Zealand Test debut, Ese'ese was the odd man out when coach Nathan Brown settled on the make-up of his forward pack for the Sharks' clash.
The Newcastle Herald suggested last week Ese'ese was the forward in the selection firing line and the player most likely to miss out for round one following the recruitment of props David Klemmer, James Gavet and Tim Glasby.
The revelation at the time was met with howls of protest from plenty of Knights fans not happy with the choice.
But as tipped, Ese'ese was named as 19th man with former co-captain Jamie Buhrer in jumper number 18.
Also as expected, South Sydney backline recruit Hymel Hunt will make his Knights debut after being named at left centre despite not featuring in either of the club's two pre-season trials against St George Illawarra or Cronulla because of a hamstring strain.
READ MORE: Newcastle Knights:
With Hunt in the centres, Sione Mata'utia moves to the right edge backrow position and will start the game there at the expense of Mitch Barnett, who will come off the bench.
The Knights squad features seven players making their debut for the club - Klemmer, Gavet, Glasby, Hunt, Edrick Lee, Jesse Ramien and Kurt Mann.
Strike centre Tautau Moga, on the comeback trail after a fourth knee reconstruction, will be ease back through the Knights' NSW Cup squad and will play part of Friday's lower grade clash against Newtown.