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Knights 20s facing biggest challenge yet

Todd Lowrie's Jersey Flegg Newcastle Knights will head into Saturday's blockbuster against Penrith with a new-look spine.

But that's nothing new to the coach.

His team has been constantly changing this season as players have been called up to the ISP NSW side.

"Our spine has actually been our most unstable part of the field for the whole year," Lowrie said.

"Our forward has been reasonably settled, our backs have come and gone a little bit but our so-called spine has probably been the one area where we haven't been consistent all year.

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"We've had guys up and down and out (in ISP NSW) through injury. It looks a whole lot different again this week.

"That's one area, the guys have performed extremely well, whoever has been there but it hasn't been settled for us.

"The good thing with that, is the way we play and the structures we've put in place, everybody that's come in have known their role pretty clearly."

They face another change in the spine this week with Matt Cooper called up to the ISP NSW side.

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In his absence, Tex Hoy has been promoted to fullback after starting from the bench the previous two weeks.

"Tex has played a lot of fullback for us this year," Lowrie said.

"Matty Cooper has been doing really well so he'll play Cup, as will a fair few of our other players.

"We have a different team to last week so the guys coming in should be really keen and looking to put their best foot forward knowing the next game after this is going to be semi-finals.

"I'm sure they'll want to put themselves in contention to get picked."

Facing the Panthers in the final game of the regular season, Lowrie's attack faces their toughest challenged yet.

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The Panthers boast the best defence of any team in the competition, which he says is the ideal challenge on the eve of finals.

"They're a very good team. They're very good right through their juniors," he said.

"The biggest thing in the Flegg this year is traditionally they've been an attack focused team, where this year their focus has probably been more so defence. They've still got quite a good attack and will be one of the top teams come semi finals but their defence has been really good this year.

"Our attack is going to have to be good to score some points this week."


1.Tex Hoy, 2. Justin Worley, 3. Heath ibbs, 4. Lachlan Farr, 5. Elijah Rasiga, 6. Nash Birch, 7. Phoenix Crossland, 8. Jirah Momoisea, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Henry Siriah-Fuimaono, 11. Kurtis Dark, 12. Brandon Russell, 13. Mathew Croker. Interchange: 14. Tevita Alifa, 15. Ben Talty, 16. Jack Cameron, 17. Kingston Puru.

Saturday, August 18 – Round 23 Jersey Flegg
Panthers v Knights
Jersey Flegg kick-off: 11am
Venue: Panthers Stadium