Coach Tim Sheens has shot down claims Jackson Hastings is on the outer at Wests Tigers, suggesting the former Man of Steel is likely to start the season at lock rather than in his preferred position of halfback.
Reports emerged last week that Hastings could be on his way out of the Tigers, but Sheens insisted the player is going nowhere.
Sheens has transitioned from leading football performance to head coach at the Tigers - who have failed in attempts to sign Cameron Ciraldo and lure ex-player Todd Payten from North Queensland - a position Benji Marshall will inherit in 2025.
One major point of order for Tigers' only premiership-winning coach will be solving the halves dilemma with which interim boss Brett Kimmorley grappled last season.
Hastings, Luke Brooks and Adam Doueihi are all playmakers by trade and will be vying for two spots in the halves.
One thing is for certain: Hastings and Brooks will be a part of Sheens' plans, despite reports claiming either or both could seek a release from their Tigers contract.
"(Hastings) is contracted. He will be here," Sheens told AAP.
"If I have my say, Luke Brooks will be playing halfback here next year."
Sheens will not confirm his spine for round one until senior players return to training after Christmas but is a fan of Hastings as a lock.
It was Sheens who suggested Kimmorley move Hastings to the middle late last season, leaving Doueihi at five-eighth and Brooks at halfback.
In that combination's three games together, the Tigers defeated Brisbane - who were in the top four at the time - and came close to upsetting premiership heavyweights Penrith and North Queensland.
"Jackson is an organiser. He sees the game, he works hard in the middle," Sheens said.
"We got Adam back (from injury) around that time and with Brooks on the other side, the spine worked pretty well for about three games..
"We don't know (how the spine will look next season) but they were scoring an average of 24 points over those three games that they played.
"I'm not getting carried away with it but they did a good job for a group that had only played a handful of games together."
New assistant coaches Marshall and Robbie Farah will take a hands-on role with the spine, with the former already working with the younger Tigers who are back at training.
"(Marshall) is highly involved. I've been very impressed with him," Sheens said.
Farah has not yet returned to Concord following a stint on Lebanon's World Cup staff but both club legends have won Sheens over.
"They're being schooled in offence and defence, preparation, presentation of what they need to get across to the players," Sheens said.
"They've handled it really well."
Aside from his duties with the playing group, Marshall will have a key role in identifying long-term signings, given his impending switch to head coach.
"We won't be signing anyone that goes into Benji's timeframe that he doesn't agree with," Sheens said.