Newcastle has named Tex Hoy at fullback for Saturday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters.
Knights coach Adam O’Brien has decided to rest Kalyn Ponga for the match at the SCG, which has opened the door for Hoy.
Winger Edrick Lee returns after recovering from a broken arm and takes the place of Hymel Hunt who, like Ponga, has been given a week off.
Mitch Barnett will also sit out this weekend, with Herman Ese’ese moving into the starting lock position.
Daniel Saifiti returns from a knee injury via the bench, while Sione Mata’utia, who has been struggling with an ankle injury, has been named on the extended bench.
Phoenix Crossland retains his No.14 jersey but must complete the return to play protocols after suffering a head-knock last weekend.
The Knights are coming off a 38-12 win at home against Cronulla, while the Roosters claimed their third straight victory, downing Canberra 18-6.
The round 18 clash will kick-off at 7.35pm.
Newcastle’s squad is as follows:
1. Tex Hoy. 2. Edrick Lee. 3. Enari Tuala. 4. Gehamat Shibasaki. 5. Starford To’a. 6. Mason Lino. 7. Mitchell Pearce. 8. David Klemmer. 9. Kurt Mann. 10. Jacob Saifiti. 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon. 12. Aidan Guerra. 13. Herman Ese’ese. Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland. 15. Daniel Saifiti. 16. Josh King. 17. Brodie Jones. 18. Sione Mata’utia