Troops chase NRL start despite Cup loss to Magpies

Nathan Brown promised changes in his NRL side.

So, the Canterbury Cup Knights had plenty to play for on Saturday.

While they went down 30-22 to the Western Suburbs, there were a number of players who put up their hand for a first-grade start.

Coach Brown was in the stands at St Johns Oval as the home side lost Josh King after 17 seconds to a HIA.

Brown: Changes 100% guaranteed next week

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King was one of the players likely to be in the mix for an NRL return against Manly next week but whether he will be available remains unknown at this stage.

Despite losing their starting forward, it was the Knights who scored first points through outside back Mitch Andrews.

Despite losing Zac Hosking to a HIA, the points continued when Jacob Saifiti crashed over in the 20th minute.

Quick tries to Robert Jennings and Jacob Liddle put the Magpies back in the mix, while a Jock Madden try a minute short of halftime really hurt.

Trailing 16-10 at halftime, the Knights had two men on the bench but started the second half with gusto.

Jirah Momoisea crashed over in the 43rd minute and Mason Lino kicked the goal to level up.

Momoisea, who is on development contract, has consistently performed for the Cup side this season.

The Magpies responded through Kane Bradley before the Knights countered with a try to Toby Marks.

With the game tied, Bradley secured his second in the 66th minute before Tommy Talau wrapped the game up with a try in the 74th.