The NRL have set up a tantalising grudge match between Latrell Mitchell and the Sydney Roosters, with the South Sydney superstar to return from a ban against his former club.
Mitchell was rubbed out towards the end of the 2021 season when he was suspended for six weeks for a high shot on Joey Manu, sparking outrage from the Roosters.
But as part of the newly released NRL draw on Tuesday, Mitchell's comeback will be in round three against the Tri-colours.
"There's a lot of things that go into making sure that the first couple of rounds have a lot of excitement," NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.
"The Roosters-Rabbitohs always typically bookend the season.
"So I can't say we did it deliberately, there's so many constraints go into this.
"But it does work out well."
It is one of several highlights of the 2022 fixture.
The Warriors are poised to return home against Penrith in round 15, marking their first match in New Zealand since 2019.
That is subject to the New Zealand border reopening to Australia in time, with the Warriors to play their home games in Redcliffe and the Sunshine Coast until June.
Even if the border does reopen earlier, it is unlikely the NRL will move matches back to Auckland before June 18.
"You never say never to anything, but I'd say it's unlikely," Abdo said.
"Because the Warriors through the request ... do want an element of certainty.
"Having said that, I'm personally really excited for us to hopefully get back to New Zealand.
"It's going to be pretty special moment when it happens."
The NRL will open the season with defending premiers Penrith hosting Manly on March 10, in a bid to have Dally M Medal winner Tom Trbojevic face Clive Churchill Medallist Nathan Cleary.
That will depend on Cleary being fit to overcome a shoulder injury in time to play, with the match marking the first game back in NSW since last July.
Adam Reynolds will also face his former club South Sydney in the opening round when he runs out for Brisbane.
The grand final rematch will fall in round four between the Panthers and Rabbitohs, while arch-rivals Penrith and Melbourne meet at Magic Round.
The NRL also confirmed the dates and venues for State of Origin 2022, with NSW on home soil to start their title defence in Sydney on Wednesday, June 8.
Game Two will be played in Perth on Sunday June 26 and the third clash scheduled for Brisbane on Wednesday, July 13.
The NRL's grand final will land on October 2 at Stadium Australia, just 13 days before the Rugby League World Cup opener in the UK.