League legend Brad Fittler has indicated what Manly must do to be considered a premiership contender this year.

"Manly's defence has never been that great," Fittler said.

"Six out of the last 10 premiers have been the best defenders. If Manly can improve their defence I think they will be as well."

After putting in the hard yards during the pre-season and grabbing their opportunities in the trials, four youngsters get their shot at a dream in round one of the Telstra Premiership.

From a Sea Eagles speedster to a Knights enforcer, from a Storm son of a gun to the nephew of Raiders royalty, the rookies will take their first steps on the path to what they hope will be long and successful NRL careers.

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Tolutau Koula (Sea Eagles)
In a backline already blessed with abundant speed, the addition of teenage flyer Koula is enough to give opposition defences nightmares.

A product of renowned rugby union nursery Newington College, Koula clocked a sizzling 10.58 secs for the 100m at a GPS athletics carnival in 2019, a year after winning the Harold Matthews premiership with Manly.

The 19-year-old impressed in his two trials for Manly, running for 124 metres against Canberra in Gosford and 113 metres with two tackle breaks against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt.

Koula will come from the bench in his NRL debut tonight and Sea Eagles fans will be hoping to see the flying machine in open spaces when his opportunity comes.

It should come as no surprise that Koula can motor given that his father represented Tonga in the 100m at three successive Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000 and his mum was also an Olympian.