Newcastle Rebels coach Todd Edwards has called in Western Suburbs playmaker Sam Keenan to replace injured starting halfback Nick Newman for Saturday’s clash with North Coast at Cessnock Sportsground.
Keenan was given the nod to wear the No.7 jersey in round two of the NSW Country Championships after narrowly missing selection in the representative under-23 squad for the weekend’s 34-14 win over Northern Rivers at Wauchope.
“Sam’s been with us in the rep program since the start and was only a shandy off being in the 17 last week,” Edwards said.
“He’s experienced and knows what’s expected.”
Lakes product Newman has now returned home after undergoing surgery at Port Macquarie Hospital earlier this week to address his ankle, which was both dislocated and broken half-an-hour into Saturday’s victory.
“It was a real credit to him where he’s come, but I feel so sorry for him to get an injury like that,” Edwards said.
The rest of the Rebels squad remains unchanged.
Central’s Tom Madden comes in as 18th man.
Kick-off is 12.10pm in the lead up to the Goannas hosting Macquarie in first grade (4.35pm).
Newcastle’s ladies league tag team also have the same North Coast opponents at Cessnock on Saturday after overcoming Northern Rivers 36-4 at Wauchope last weekend.
Rebels coach Marc Glanville will be without Lakes player Caitlin Johnstone but has yet to name a replacement.
Kick-off is 11.05am.