Saturday's Tri-Nations opener in Auckland between defending champions New Zealand and Australia is shaping up to be a battle of two half-backs.
The hugely experienced Stacey Jones lines up for the Kiwis while Johnathan Thurston makes his Kangaroos debut.
"Jones is outstanding. He's got ability to make other players play well," said Australia coach Ricky Stuart.
"He's very skilful, has great footwork and we'll need to be on our game to contain him," said Jones of Thurston.
Kiwi coach Brian McClennan has four new caps in his side.
Lock Simon Mannering and centres Steve Matai and Iosia Soliola are in the starting line-up, with prop Adam Blair on the bench.
Australia, captained by Darren Lockyer, have also given debuts to three players in addition to Thurston.
He has the toughest task - replacing Andrew Johns - while centre Justin Hodges, winger Greg Inglis and prop Reni Maitua also get their first run-outs.
We're the defending champions, but last year is last year NZ prop Roy Asotasi
The selection of Hodges in the centre with Mark Gasnier allows Broncos club-mate Karmichael Hunt to hold the full-back spot.
NRL champions the Brisbane Broncos have five players in the 17-man Australian squad, while losing Grand Finalists Melbourne have three in the side.
Australia have a poor record in the first game of end-of-season tours, winning only two of nine opening matches since 1990.
Last year, the Kangaroos opened their campaign with a shock 38-28 defeat to New Zealand in Sydney.
"It is important we get off to a flyer in regards to winning the game in New Zealand," said Stuart.
TRI-NATIONS SCHEDULE 14 Oct: NZ v Aus, Auckland21 Oct: Aus v NZ, Melbourne28 Oct: NZ v GB, Christchurch04 Nov: Aus v GB, Sydney11 Nov: NZ v GB, Wellington18 Nov: Aus v GB, Brisbane25 Nov: Final, Sydney
"It always gives the side a bit of confidence when you can get away with a good win in the first game of the series."
Blair, who has just completed his debut first-grade season, played in the NRL Grand Final for Melbourne while Soliola was initially picked for last year's Tri-Nations only to be ruled out with a knee injury.
Mannering will move from centre, his regular spot for the New Zealand Warriors, to start in the back row.
And prop Roy Asotasi has warned his side against complacency ahead of the tournament.
"We're the defending champions, but last year is last year," Asotasi said.
"It's a whole new side, a whole new squad and I'd like to think everyone will be focused on this year. Last year isn't going to win it for us in 2006."
Great Britain kick off their campaign against New Zealand in Christchurch on 28 October.