Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers
NRL round one: Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers will be held at Canberra Stadium. NRL

The Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers will start their 2016 National Rugby League campaigns boasting new sets of recruits, despite key players from both sides suffering from injuries.

A much-anticipated clash awaits the nation’s capital when the Raiders host the Panthers on Saturday in Canberra’s GIO Stadium. The Raiders, who finished at 10th place last season, will have skipper Jarrod Croker leading the front, with help from Aidan Sezer, the club’s best signing in the offseason.

The former Titan is expected to combine with Sam Williams, who will take Blake Austin’s starting spot in the season opener. Austin, last year’s Dally M five-eight of the year, will be eased off the bench in his first game since round 25 last year. The 25-year-old underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason, but Croker expects his teammate to embrace whatever role Austin will be given.

"He got it last year when he had a good shoulder, so I'm sure he'll be up for plenty of defence if he has to do some defence," Croker said, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. "All I know is he's 100 percent ready to go and if him starting on the bench this weekend is the best thing for the team, Blake will do that for us."

Canberra’s other new recruit Elliott Whitehead will also debut for the Raiders this weekend, pushing the club’s best player of 2015, Iosia Soliola, back to interchange. But while the Raiders may arguably have a shot at finally cracking the top eight, the club would still have to find someone who can fill the void left by David Shillington, who joined the Gold Coast Titans in the offseason.

Meanwhile, the Panthers will be mentored by new coach Anthony Griffin, who was sacked from his role with the Brisbane Broncos in 2014. Griffin has inherited a talented Penrith roster, but would have to makeshift, with injuries to George Jennings, Dean Whare and Sione Katoa.

Newly appointed captain Matt Moylan is also bound to miss the season-opener clash against Canberra, forcing Anthony to name halfback Peter Wallace as the club’s skipper on Saturday, reports Fox Sports. The upside for the Panthers would be the fully fit and ready Bryce Cartwright, who suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries to start his NRL career.

"I'll be starting this weekend, and I'm excited about ripping in against Canberra,” Cartwright said, reports the Panthers’ official website. “I definitely want to be in the back row, particularly on the right edge. That's my favoured position, but wherever I can help the team out I'm happy to play."

Canberra Raiders lineup

Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee, Jarrod Croker (captain), Joseph Leilua, Jordan Rapana, Sam Williams, Aidan Sezer, Shannon Boyd, Josh Hodgson, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Josh Papalii, Elliott Whitehead, Shaun Fensom Interchange: Blake Austin, Iosia Soliola, Paul Vaughan, Jeff Lima, Kurt Baptiste Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Penrith Panthers lineup

Will Smith, Josh Mansour, Waqa Blake, Peta Hiku, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace (captain), Sam McKendry, James Segeyaro, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Bryce Cartwright, Isaah Yeo, Trent Merrin Interchange: Tyrone Peachey, Jeremy Latimore, Suaia Matagi, Elijah Taylor Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Live streaming info and play-by-play updates

Watch NRL 2016 season Round 1: Manly Sea Eagles vs Canterbury Bulldogs live via NRL Digital Pass. Play-by-play updates will be available during game time on Fox Sports AU.