St Helens pair James Roby and Tommy Makinson will miss the Super League season opener against Salford, but hope to be fit for the World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters.
The NRL champions visit the Totally Wicked Stadium on February 22, which will be the fourth game of Saints’ season.
Roby, 35, had groin surgery in the off-season which ruled him out of the Great Britain tour, while Makinson suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Grand Final win over Salford and also underwent surgery.
He told PA: “What a great opportunity it is for us to call ourselves world champions and, for me as captain I’d love nothing more than to get back for that game.
“It’s progressing well, as expected. I’ll increase accordingly and see where we are. I’ll probably miss the first game but should be alright after that.”
Roby sat out a portion of last season with the groin problem, but returned for the run-in to lead out Saints at Old Trafford.
That game was his 451st game for Saints since making his debut in 2004.