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nib Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown has confirmed Trent Hodkinson won’t play against the North Queensland Cowboys this Saturday.

“Trent is the ultimate professional but this is a decision that is best for the team at the moment,” Brown said.

The coach also said Sione Mata’utia will captain the side on Saturday.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon is expected to drop off the extended bench, which is confirmed at 5.30pm on Friday.

The Club traveled with an extended squad to Townsville on Thursday; the final 17-man team will be announced one hour before kick off on Saturday.