Knights Field Understrength Team
Against Penrith Panthers

In the absence of the club?s six State of Origin stars, the Newcastle Knights will this week name their eighth debutante of season 2003 for their clash with the third placed Panthers.

Todd Lowrie, an outstanding Knights junior, originally from the Hunter Valley town of Scone, will take his place in the 17-man squad in the Penrith game.

Todd represented NSW U/19 last year despite suffering two serious foot injuries during the last eighteen months ? both requiring surgery. After missing a bulk of 2002, Todd has only been back on the playing field for four games in 2003.

Also included in the squad is former Knights player Tim Maddison.

Having most recently played in France, Maddison has returned to Newcastle after previously stints for the Hunter Mariners, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks and Nth Queensland Cowboys. The return of both players comes at a time when the club?s forward stocks are at an all-time low.

Matt Parsons and Clint Newton are both on the long-term injury list, Josh Perry is suspended while Ben Kennedy and Danny Buderus will lead the NSW pack against Queensland on June 25.

Also mitigating those losses is the expected return of Steve Simpson after a three-week absence as a result of a bruised kidney.

The international back-rower will seek a clearance from his specialist tomorrow, and is hopeful of taking his place in the team to tackle Penrith. If fit, Coach Michael Hagan will name the 100-game veteran as captain of the team.

Michael Hagan admitted today the team to travel to Penrith was short on experience, but added he expected a strong showing from his charges.

?While we do have some youngsters in the squad, I think the starting team has a pretty good look about it,? he said.

?I would expect blokes like Robbie O?Davis, Adam MacDougall, Mark Hughes and certainly Steve Simpson to play a leading role on Friday and I?ve no reason to believe the younger guys wont follow.?

?One thing we have seen this year, is that, when given the opportunity our rookies have handled themselves pretty well and, while the Penrith game will be a tough challenge, I have every confidence in them.?

The Knights will be chasing their third win in a row against the Panthers after their spectacular victory over the Broncos in Brisbane and their last gasp win at home over the Dragons last Friday night.

Coach: Michael Hagan

1,Robbie O?Davis 2,raig Hall 3,Anthony Quinn 4,Mark Hughes 5,Adam MacDougall 6,Sean Rudder 7,Kurt Gidley 8,Adam Woolnough 9,luke Quigley 10,Matthew Jobson 11,Steve Simspon 12,Andrew Price 13,Daniel Abraham Interchange:

14,Matthew Kennedy 15,Tim Maddison 16Todd Lowrie 17,Reegan Tanner 18,Blake Mueller-1 to be omitted