Brown previews Round 9
Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has taken a look over movement within his squad ahead of Saturday’s Sydney Roosters clash
Following Monday’s ANZAC Day hit-out at Hunter Stadium, the side tackles a five-day turnaround into the game played out at Allianz Stadium.
Brown says the Knights are on track to back up for the high stakes match against the boys from Bondi after a quality first training run following Monday’s Manly loss.
“The short turnaround is a highly talked about thing,” he said.
“It was more a recovery session with some skills, the boys got a bit out of the session.”
The Knights will be minus in-form forward Sam Mataora after he received a grade two dangerous contact charge from the Match Review Panel.
Mataora accepted the early guilty plea on Wednesday after the Club explored its options surrounding the case.
“We will plead it out unfortunately. We’ve looked at a lot of grade twos and there was a grade two earlier in the year that was fairly similar and all the legal advice was you’re better to plead,” he said.
“In Sam’s case, he played far more footy this year than he has at any other stage of his career and longer minutes.
“He has been one of our more consistent players and has done a lot more tackles than what he has in the past.
“He got in a bit of an awkward situation.
“Losing him is disappointing but sometimes you have to cop it.”
After mainstay Jarrod Mullen went down in the second half to a hamstring injury, NRL newcomer Will Pearsall has been named at number 6.
“Will has already played one game to date… he is definitely physically capable at the moment,” he said.
Since arriving at the Club during the pre-season, Pearsall has evolved his skills to take on a utility role within the team.
“Being able to play nine and six gives us scope to move the team,” Brown said.
“He’s definitely tough and competitive and (we spoke to Will about it that) maybe it was a quicker way to get to first grade.
“He’s a good defensive player, is tough and is a good competitor and has a really good kicking game.
“We are trying to, like probably all Clubs, try to manufacture some players who can cover a number of spots which helps during the salary cap and during times of injuries.”
Meanwhile youngster Brock Lamb remains in the mix as a possible replacement in the halves and has been named on an extended bench.
“Lamb is in around the money there too so we will make a decision later in the week,’ Brown said.
“Lamb can play fullback as well. We have a few things to look at there.”
Lamb has continued his continual growth since completing his first NRL pre-season and has performed well of late for the Under 20s alongside halves partner Jack Cogger.
“Jack and Brock have both been playing well and are both players of the future and are local kids,” he said.
“The 20s have been getting some great results and winning some tight games which has come off the back of their good game.”
Further news on Jarrod Mullen’s prognosis and recovery is expected to come later this week.
“He’s going to be reasonable long term, but he has a meeting with a specialist on Friday in Sydney,” he said.
“Until he actually goes over it properly we won’t know definitely but he definitely won’t be back in the short term that’s for sure.”
The Newcastle Knights are auctioning their ANZAC Day playing jerseys to raise funds for the RSL. Click HERE to place a bid now.