Sam Burgess hasn't been sighted at South Sydney - the club he led to the 2014 NRL premiership - in 18 months since he was rocked by scandalous allegations made by his estranged wife.

But he returned today to present new captain Cameron Murray with a special jersey, ahead of his captaincy debut against the Broncos tomorrow night.

"Sam was one of the great captains of our club, he's well respected by the players in the group, it was good to get him in and speak to Cam who is starting his journey," Bunnies coach Jason Demetriou said.

"I know how much Cam respects Sam. It was good to see the big fella back. I asked Sam to come down.

"What Sam did at this club, not just him but John Sutton and Greg Inglis, it's important for the players to see I respect that, Sam knows I do, and that's important."

Roosters young gun Sam Verrills will miss a month after breaking his thumb at training.

The news was broken by Nine's Danny Weidler on Twitter.

Penrith Panthers vs Manly Sea Eagles NRL Game today
Panthers vs Sea Eagles NRL Game

Verrills hasn't been named for Round 1 against the Knights, with Connor Watson starting at hooker.

The Penrith Panthers host the Manly Sea Eagles to kick off another blockbuster season of NRL action at BlueBet Stadium.

The Panthers will be without star halfback Nathan Clear as the defending premiers begin their bid to go back-to-back with Sean O’Sullivan filling in at No.7.

Liam Martin starts in the back row after Kurt Capewell’s departure to the Broncos, while Izack Tago replaces Matt Burton in the centres.

Charlie Staines comes onto the wing with Stephen Crichton moving back to the centres after Paul Momirovski’s shift to the Roosters.

For the Sea Eagles reigning Dally M Medallist Tom Trbojevic will again be the key man in a backline that hasn’t changed from last season.

New recruit Ethan Bullemor comes into the second row for the injured Josh Schuster, while Haumole Olakau’atu is carrying an elbow injury suffered in the trials.

Rookie sensation Tolutau Koula is set to debut on the bench after filling in for utility Dylan Walker with his speed sure to be a factor when he comes on when the defences tire