Wests coach Todd Lowrie reckons Ben Stone was the obvious choice.
The Maltese international will lead out the Rosellas when they play their first home game of the season at Harker Oval and host undefeated Central on Sunday
Stone, who lines up at lock, takes over from usual captain Ryan Walker, who is unavailable for round four of the Newcastle Rugby League competition.
"With Walks out, Ben Stone was the obvious choice," Lowrie said. "He's a great guy to have around the place and is a natural leader. All the boys look to him, right throughout the club."
Blake Andrews, who played centre in last year's grand final, slots into the second-row for Walker.
Michael Hendry returns on the wing while forward Luke Casson (ACL) has been ruled out for the season after undergoing scans this week.
Wests are coming off a last-minute loss to Cessnock and Lowrie said goal-line defence had been a focus at training this week.
"We've been working on our goal-line defence," Lowrie said. "It had been good the first two weeks but we let oursleves down last week so that's something we can improve on."
Lowrie says Central, who just had the bye, would be a "good test for us".
"We're not going that flash at the moment and they are on top of the competition," he said.
"They've got a few blokes back now and have one of the best teams on paper, which is showing in their results."
Elsewhere, Lakes recruit Lachlan Farr has been named at centre and will be up against his former club when the third-placed Seagulls meet Souths at Townson Oval on Sunday.
The winless Pickers are set to welcome back Ben Ireland, Reeve Howard and James Bradley to meet unbeaten Wyong at Morry Breen Oval on Sunday with Maitland's main squad having the bye in NSW Rugby League's President's Cup.
All games are scheduled to kick-off at 3pm.
Cessnock, who have won two out of their opening three encounters in 2020, will sit out this weekend with a bye.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle and Hunter Community Rugby League competitions University have withdrawn from Saturday's matches against Northern Lakes (men's A-grade) and Stroud (ladies league tag A-grade) because of players self isolating from the region's latest coronavirus cases.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Newcastle and Hunter coronavirus testing: full list of drive-through, walk-in and private clinics to test for COVID-19
- NNSW NPL: Adamstown matches first to be called off amid COVID-19 scare
- McDonald Jones Stadium undergoing 'full clean' after confirmed coronavirus case attends Jets game
- Newcastle hockey centre closed as community sport deals with latest COVID-19 cases in region
- Basketball: NBA star Ben Simmons sidelined after discloating knee