Newcastle Knights coach Michael Hagan has named his team to play the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Coach Hagen will be expecting a vastly improved Knights outfit after last weekends humiliation at the hands of the Storm.
Hagan has been forced to blood another couple of debutants for this weekend's trip to Canberra, with the injury-depleted NRL club desperate to make amends.
Local product Brendan Worth, a front rower from the Raymond Terrace club, and 20-year-old centre Brad Tighe are set to make their NRL debuts, just a week after Kade Snowden and Matthew White played their first game in the top grade in Newcastle's 48-10 loss to the Storm.
Tighe comes into the line-up at centre with Hagan shifting former international Matthew Gidley to five-eighth to replace Steve Witt as Andrew Johns' scrumbase partner.
In other changes, Dustin Cooper moves from the bench to fullback to replace Mark Hughes, who is expected to miss three weeks with a rib cartilage injury, while Kirk Reynoldson shifts from lock to the front row for the injured Adam Woolnough, with Daniel Abraham the new lock.
Michael Hagan said blooding so many debutants so early in the season wasn't part of his pre-season plans.
"Brad Tighe and Brendan Worth have arrived in first grade on the back of Kade (Snowden) and Matt White in the space of a fortnight," Hagan said.
"I think we're on record pace for debutants in a season and (it's) not really something that we were expecting for round two.
"There's no news to report on returns from any of the injured players for this week, so I guess we find ourselves in the situation where those players that were asked to do the job against Melbourne we expect to do the job against Canberra." Coach Hagens team is;
Dustin Cooper Craig Hall Brad Tighe George Carmont Anthony Quinn Matthew Gidley Andrew Johns (c) Matthew Kennedy Luke Quigley Kirk Reynoldson Steve Simpson Reegan Tanner Daniel Abraham Interchange:
Matthew White Kade Snowden Blake Mueller Brendan Worth