You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Pearce backs Lino to help keep Knights' finals dream alive

Newcastle skipper Mitchell Pearce has put his faith in third-choice five-eighth Mason Lino to make an impact as the Knights seek to end a seven-year finals drought during the next month.

Lino underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season and is yet to play a game under Adam O'Brien this year with the Knights coach starting Kurt Mann in the halves before signing experienced playmaker Blake Green earlier this month.

Green's season-ending knee injury against the Cowboys has opened the door for 26-year-old Lino to add to his career tally of 29 games and free up Pearce and Kalyn Ponga around the paddock.

Lino is also an option for O'Brien with goal-kicking after slotting 33 of 39 conversions last season.

"Mase is going to do a great job and he's going to be fresh because he hasn't played footy for a while," Pearce said.

Klemmer sets sights on the finals

"He's played a lot of first grade at the Warriors and here in the halves and knows what's required of him.

"He'll defend well for us and be a great kicking option as well. We'd like to keep evolving with our attack and with Mase there I think we can.

"He will be ready for the opportunity."

Pearce said O'Brien had instilled a "next man mentality" into the side that has enabled them to move on quickly from Green's devastating blow, which occurred just two weeks after joining the club.

The 33-year-old journeyman is booked in for surgery next week with a 6-9 month recovery period expected.

"I was shattered for him, you ever want to see anyone get injured, let alone an ACL," Pearce said.

"He's a really good fella, everyone will tell you that. It's hard for the whole group but he'll add plenty of value around training and get his recovery done as quickly as he can.

"One thing Adam has brought to this club is getting on with the next job and believing in everyone in the squad.

"As a playing group, we feel that. It's allowed us to be consistent regardless of injuries."

The sixth-placed Knights travel to Tamworth on Saturday for their round 16 clash against the Warriors after both sides spent time in the region during the past 12 months.

The Warriors have Tamworth's 2340 postcode on their jersey after the city allowed them to undergo a 14-day quarantine and train there after arrival to Australia in May.

Match Highlights: Knights v Cowboys

The Knights spent a gruelling week during their pre-season in December last year that included 4am wake-up calls and working on local farms as part of their commitment to the local community.

"We worked our backsides off through that week and you get a fair connection to the place," Pearce said.

"We're looking forward to getting back and working hard on the field this time.

"We've put ourselves in a really good position, we're one point off the four and we're in sixth at the moment.

"Obviously we want to make top four but the Warriors are a tough side and we need to be at our very best."