Coach Wayne Bennett announced he will have two players making their NRL debut when the Newcastle Knights host the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
Sione Mata’utia, who replaces Darius Boyd at fullback, has brother Chanel joining him for the Round 20 encounter at Hunter Stadium.
It is the first time in over 50 years two brothers have made their NRL debut together.
“We have two making their debut tomorrow night,” Bennett told the media on Thursday.
“I think it is wonderful, and it is just a coincidence to be debuting together.”
Chanel replaces Akuila Uate on the wing, who is ruled out due to a knee injury.
“Aku’s knee is playing up. It is pretty swollen, it is hard to run and we have a short turnaround,” Bennett added.
With the backline changes, the Knights will be tested against the fifth-placed Roosters, who defeated the second-placed Penrith Panthers last weekend.
“They are a quality football team, the premiers, and they aren’t far off the pace,” Bennett admitted.
“This is the time they will be wanting to come into their own because they will want to be back in the playoffs and well positioned.”
The Knights will take confidence out of the last encounter between the two sides, despite the Roosters running away with a 17-point win.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have gone in for half time,” Bennett joked, after the Knights went into the sheds leading 12-6 at Allianz Stadium in Round 14.
“We were great in the first half, we had a lot of players missing that night too, and I was really proud of that effort.
“I hope we can come into tomorrow night with confidence out of that, knowing that we can stand up and hold our own, for the whole game this time not just 40 minutes.”
Meanwhile, Bennett said Darius Boyd is settled after admitting himself into a mental health clinic on Wednesday.
“I spoke to Darius this morning, he is settled and happy with the processes of the last 24 hours,” he explained.
“He thanked everybody for their well wishes, he felt he made a good decision, and he was in the right place and it is where he needed to be right now.”
Get your ticket to Friday night football and support your Knights against the Sydney Roosters.