Fresh from making his NRL debut, boom prop Pasami Saulo will spearhead Newcastle’s bid to reach the Jersey Flegg (under-20s) grand final qualifier when the Knights clash with Mounties at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
The minor premiers will be without hooker Tom Starling and injured halfback Hayden Loughrey but will still boast a formidable side that crushed Mounties 42-6 when the two sides last met at St John Oval four weeks ago.
With Starling on NRL duties, Nash Birch will play hooker. NSW under-18s halfback Phoenix Crossland will wear the No.7 jumper, with Loughrey to miss the finals series after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction on Tuesday.
The Knights will also have fullback Matt Cooper back from NSW Cup with Tex Hoy to partner Crossland in the halves.
“Obviously having Pasami available is a big boost but Mounties are a big, physical side who will give us plenty of problems if we are not on our game,”coach Todd Lowrie said.
“Hopefully, we’ll get plenty of Knights fans there early on Saturday to support the boys.”
1. Matt Cooper, 2. Justin Worley, 3. Starford T'oa, 4. Mitch Andrews, 5. Elijah Rasiga, 6. Tex Hoy, 7. Phoenix Crossland, 8. Pasami Saulo, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Jirah Momoisea, 11. Kurtis Dark, 12. Beau Fermor, 13. Mathew Croker. Interchange: 14. Luke Huth, 15. Tevita Alifa, 16. Brandon Russell, 17. Ben Talty