Talented winger Starford To’a can’t wait to play against his childhood hero Sonny Bill Williams.
Newcastle will tackle the Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night, with SBW set to line-up again for the defending premiers.
The 35-year-old made his eagerly-awaited return to the NRL last weekend, playing 14 minutes off the bench in the Roosters’ 18-6 win over the Canberra Raiders.
Auckland-born To’a, who bagged a double in the Knights’ 38-10 victory against Cronulla, is excited about the challenge of facing the dual international.
A win will move sixth-placed Newcastle to within one point of the Roosters in fourth.
“The nerves aren’t there this early in the week but, against the Roosters – the pinnacle at the moment – I can’t wait to get out there,” To’a said.
Meanwhile, veteran forward Aidan Guerra will face off against several former teammates, including SBW.
Guerra played more than 150 games for the Roosters during a seven-year spell, before joining Newcastle in 2018.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with Sonny,” Guerra said.
“He’s the ultimate professional so, whatever he felt he didn’t do well in the game last week, he’s going to improve on that no doubt.”
Newcastle superstar Kalyn Ponga will be rested for the clash, with Tex Hoy taking his place at fullback.
Hymel Hunt, who is also set to join Ponga for a well-earned break, backed Hoy and the Knights to put on a positive performance against the Roosters.
“I’ll try and enjoy it as much as I can, but I really want to be out there with the boys,” Hunt said.
“I think it’s just time to let the young boys do it – I know they will do the job, especially Star (Starford To’a), he’s played unreal the last few weeks.
“Tex is full of confidence, whatever you throw in front of Tex, he’ll do everything he can to perform well.”
Hunt said the Knights were taking it one step at a time ahead of the upcoming finals – the club’s first appearance since 2013.
“It’s very exciting, most of us boys haven’t played finals before and our goal was make the top four and make the finals,” he said.
“So, that goal is still there and everyone is excited, but we have to focus on this week.
“As long as we focus on the little things, like completing [sets] and having a red hot crack, I know we will do well.”