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Knights, Cowboys & Panthers

Newcastle centre Matthew Gidley has announced his retirement from representative rugby league. The former Australian back, who played 11 Tests and 11 State of Origin games for NSW, says he wants to devote more time to his playing commitments with NRL club the Knights, and his family.

His retirement means Gidley will not be considered for next week's City-Country Origin match in Dubbo.

Meanwhile, North Queensland coach Graham Murray has drafted veteran Shane Muspratt and rookie Mark Dalle Cort into his NRL squad as extra cover ahead of tomorrow night's clash against Penrith. The pair have been placed on stand-by alongside Brett Firman and Gavin Cooper and will only play if one of the Cowboys' three Test players fails to recover.

Johnathan Thurston, Luke O'Donnell and Kiwi David Faiumu will all feature in tonight's Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium. North Queensland trained strongly this morning without the Test stars and will be further buoyed by the withdrawal of Panthers' star Craig Gower from the match.

Gower has succumbed to a rib cartilage injury that kept him out of last week's loss to Cronulla.