VODAFONE Cup champion Sabeto Roosters was given a taste of its own medicine in their 6-16 loss to Saru Dragons at Ra Sports Ground on Saturday.
The Roosters which defeated the Dragons in last year's FNRL grand final failed to find their rhythm that won them the title last year.
Sabeto was also crippled with the absence of nine members of last year's winning team who have secured overseas contracts.
FNRL operation manager Jo Savou said the game was a replay of last year's final.
He said Sabeto featured many new and young players unfortunately they were outclassed by a tough Dragons outfit.
"Sabeto fielded many new faces and it would take few months for these boys to adapt to the competition," said Savou.
"The absence of some players from last year's winning team affected Sabeto's campaign,
"Saru on the other hand was impressive and would be a force to be reckoned with this year.
"It would be interesting to see these two teams battle again later in the competition."
He said the nine Sabeto players had secured contracts in Australia and PNG.
Meanwhile, in the other game played on Saturday Makoi Bulldogs pipped Topline 12-6.
The other two matches scheduled were called off because of adverse weather conditions.
Savou said the two games played yesterday had set the platform for another exciting rugby league season.
"The first few games will be a rebuilding period for most teams since some of the key players have secured contracts," he said.
"We are also hopeful of introducing new talents this season."
The first round of competition will start this weekend.