'He’s not the biggest in stature but his heart’s big'

Tom Starling has been cleared by the NRL to make his first-grade debut on Saturday.

At 170 centimetres and 82 kilos, the pint-sized hooker is the final player to debut for the nib Newcastle Knights this season.

When Starling pulls on the red and blue jumper against St George Illawarra this weekend, he becomes Knight No.301 which etches his place in the Club's history.


According to Nathan Brown, it's a great reward for the hard working 20-year-old.

"Tom has been in the Knights system well before I got here," Brown said.

"He's a young Central Coast boy. He played through the Matthews, Ball and 20s and reserve grade. He's played a fair bit of resevr grade over the last number of years.

"He's not the biggest in stature but his heart's big.


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"He's a great competitor. He's good out of dummy half and certainly earned his opportunity.

"Hooker is a spot with Slade's situation (of a season ending injury) that we're looking at going forward."

The Club received the green light from the NRL on Wednesday morning.

Still eligible for Jersey Flegg, his 20s teammates are preparing for their qualifying final against Mounties as the curtain raiser to Old Boys Day.


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Starling will start the game on the bench with Danny Levi wearing the No.9 but with Lachlan Fitzgibbon out with concussion, Jamie Buhrer starts in the backrower which paved the way for Starling to become the support player.


"He's been cleared," Brown said.

"We're very grateful and more than anyone, Tommy and his family are grateful.

"It gives us a recognised dummy half on the bench to support Danny (Levi).

" ... he deserves a game and he's a hooker. They (the NRL) took the common-sense approach."