St George Illawarra Dragons representative forward Tyson Frizell will captain the Dragons for the first time at the NRL Auckland Nines tournament at Eden Park on February 4 and 5.
St George Illawarra Dragons coach Paul McGregor named an 18-man squad on Wednesday which will see a mixture of the Dragons' youth and experience play in the tournament.
Frizell will be joined by other established first-graders Jack de Belin, Tariq Sims, Will Matthews, Kurt Mann and Joel Thompson, while Cameron McInnes and Nene Macdonald will don a Dragons jumper for the first time.
Like Frizell, Euan Aitken will back up from the recent Four Nations tournament to take his place in Auckland.
Mann, Sims and New Zealand international Kalifa Faifai Loa will be the Dragons' most-experienced Nines campaigners having played at every tournament since its inception.
"It's an honour to captain the club at the Auckland Nines tournament. It's very special and I'm very happy to have the role," Frizell said.
"We have a very young squad so I'm looking forward to a good weekend at the Nines."
On Frizell, McGregor added: "It's the next step of his development and responsibility. 'Friz' suits the style of play at the Nines as a powerful, mobile back-rower and I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles that leadership role."
Young halves Shaun Nona and Jai Field will get the chance to impress McGregor at the Nines following standout 2016 seasons in the Intrust Super Premiership and Holden Cup respectively.
They will be joined by other NRL hopefuls Levi Dodd, Matt Dufty and Patrick Herbert in the squad.
"We have picked a well-balanced team. It has a lot of speed and size in it," McGregor said.
"We have come up with a strategy where we've picked a skilful side for the Nines-style of football."
The Dragons will face off against the New Zealand Warriors, North Queensland Cowboys and the Manly-Waringah Sea Eagles in the Piha Pool.
Dragons’ Auckland Nines squad (subject to NRL approval):
1. Patrick Herbert
2. Nene Macdonald
3. Euan Aitken
4. Levi Dodd
5. Kalifa Faifai Loa
7. Kurt Mann
8. Siliva Havili
9. Cameron McInnes
10. Luciano Leilua
11. Tyson Frizell (c)
12. Joel Thompson
13. Jack de Belin
14. Tariq Sims
15. Taane Milne
16. Shaun Nona
17. Will Matthews
18. Matt Dufty
21. Jai Field
NRL Auckland Nines Pools:
Piha: St George Illawarra Dragons, New Zealand Warriors, Parramatta Eels, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
Rangitoto: Brisbane Broncos, Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers.
Waiheke: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Gold Coast Titans, Penrith Panthers.
Hunua: Canberra Raiders, North Queensland Cowboys, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Roosters.