Walters welcomes Broncos' early NRL test

A season-opening NRL examination in Penrith means Brisbane coach Kevin Walters will not need long to discover how his men have responded to their 2022 implosion.

The Broncos are slated to face the back-to-back premiers in round one on Friday, March 3.

A horror 1-5 run home - including back-to-back 60-12 and 53-6 losses - led Walters' side to slip from the top four in round 19 to finish ninth and be finals spectators for the third-straight year.

But off-season recruitment, headlined by the return of fullback Reece Walsh, has brightened the picture at Red Hill on the players' return this week.

"You find out where you are first up against the premiers," Walters told AAP.

"It is an away game as well and that makes us sharpen-up straight away and focus on getting through our trials well.

"Every team with the right mindset wants to play against the good teams, and Penrith have been a good team for a long time.

"It is a great challenge for us and one we are very much looking forward to."

The Broncos lost 40-12 to the Panthers away in round six last season but only trailed 12-6 at halftime and were right in the game.

After that match Brisbane went on a seven-game winning streak that offered jaded fans hope before the wheels fell off in the final weeks of the season.

"We had three of our starting middles not playing - Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan and Tom Flegler - and Tesi Niu injured his hamstring on halftime when he was about to score a try," Walters said of their most recent clash with Penrith.

"We were mixing it with them. They are a good side and we have a lot of respect for them with what they have achieved the last two or three years.

"We are all chasing Penrith and it is a good opportunity to see where we are at so early in the season."

Parramatta will play Melbourne on the Thursday to begin the season, while Cronulla take on South Sydney on the Saturday.

New franchise the Dolphins are set to face the Roosters on the Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.

The Warriors play Newcastle, Manly face Canterbury and Wests Tigers meet Gold Coast to wrap up the round.

Brisbane are expected to play their new NRL neighbours the Dolphins in round two, with the full schedule to be released on Thursday.

"It will be a great experience for rugby league people in Brisbane," Walters said of the new southeast Queensland NRL rivalry.

"It is a game that is always going to have a bit of feeling in it and a bit of battle lines (being drawn), so we will look forward to that one.

"We will focus on our pre-season and round one against Penrith. That is enough on our plate at the moment."