NRL | Knights name nine club debutantes for Eels trial in Maitland on Saturday night

Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has named his strongest possible squad for Saturday’s trial against Parramatta at a sold-out Maitland Sportsground featuring nine players who have never previously worn the red and blue.

 Backrower Mitch Barnett, who is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, was not considered for selection.

It will be Knights fans first opportunity to see Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson combined in the halves with fullback Kalyn Ponga.

The game will also mark the return of Jarryd Hayne in Eels colours.

The Knights squad is:

1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall  3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Tautau Moga 5. Nathan Ross 6. Connor Watson 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Slade Griffin 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Herman Ese’ese Interchange: 14. Danny Levi 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jamie Buhrer 17. Jacob Saifiti

Mitchell Pearce signs an autograph

Mitchell Pearce signs an autograph