Round 18 squad: Big guns return as fullback makes NRL debut

Mitchell Pearce is back to face Parramatta on Friday night.

The nib Newcastle Knights skipper has been named to return from a pectoral injury which has sidelined him since Round 7.

Coach Nathan Brown has made several changes for the McDonald Jones Stadium clash with exciting fullback Nick Meaney set to make his first-grade debut.

Meaney replaces the injured Kalyn Ponga in his first NRL match after impressing in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.

Nathan Ross returns to the side via the bench after overcoming a groin complaint with a strong showing in the ISP a fortnight ago.


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Cory Denniss retains his place in the centres.

Plus, Daniel Saifiti also returns from a foot injury. He starts in the front row alongside Josh King.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon misses another match through suspension which means Aidan Guerra and Mitch Barnett will play in the backrow.


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This allows Herman Ese'ese to shift into lock.

Slade Griffin will miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury which sees Danny Levi called into the starting side.

TEAM

1. Nick Meaney
2. Ken Sio
3. Sione Mata'utia
4. Cory Denniss
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
6. Connor Watson
7. Mitchell Pearce ©
8. Josh King
9. Danny Levi
10. Daniel Saifiti
11. Aidan Guerra
12. Mitch Barnett
13. Herman Ese'ese

14. Nathan Ross
15. Chris Heighington
16. Jamie Buhrer ©
17. Jacob Lillyman

18. Luke Yates
19. Sam Stone
20. Jack Cogger
21. JJ Felise

Friday, July 13 – Round 18

Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels
Kick-off: 7.55pm
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium