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Roosters v Knights: O'Brien to plot against former team

Having celebrated the premiership with them in October, new Knights coach Adam O'Brien will be very familiar with the world-beating Roosters' systems.

But you can bet the former Roosters assistant won't be showing too many of his tricks when Newcastle take on Trent Robinson's men in their final trial at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.

The Roosters made it back-to-back World Club Challenge titles by beating St Helens in England last weekend, while the Knights went down 38-12 to the Dragons in a trial at Maitland - though the scores had been locked at half-time after a tight first half in which both clubs fielded their strongest squad.

The Rundown

Team News

Roosters: 1. Asu 'AJ' Kepaoa, 2. McKenzie Baker, 3. Christian Tuipulotu, 4. James Tuitahi, 5. Matt Ikuvalu, 6. Lachlan Lam, 7. Drew Hutchison, 8. Daniel Suluka-Fifita, 9. Freddy Lussick, 10. Poasa Faamausili, 11. Egan Butcher, 12. Tom Freebairn, 13. Max Bailey. Interchange: 14. Luca Moretti, 15. Lupe Tivalu, 
16. Elih Jackson, 17. Ben Thomas.

On the back of a tough WCC battle against St Helens and a long trip home, the Roosters are resting their stars. Lachlan Lam and Drew Hutchison will run the show in the halves while NRL Nines sensation McKenzie Baker has been named on the wing with Matt Ikuvalu, who played 10 NRL games last year.

Knights squad: Kalyn Ponga, Edrick Lee, Enari Tuala, Gehamat Shibasaki, Hymel Hunt, Kurt Mann, Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer, Jayden Brailey, Daniel Saifiti, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Aidan Guerra, Mitch Barnett, Connor Watson, Herman Ese’ese, Jacob Saifiti, Tim Glasby, Tex Hoy, Pasami Saulo, Mason Lino, Starford To’a.

Kalyn Ponga, Pasami Saulo and Connor Watson return after taking part in the All Stars match. Sione Mata'utia suffered a knee injury against the Dragons and looks set to miss the opening couple of rounds of the season. Herman Ese'ese missed the first trial with a minor ankle injury but he'll suit up this week. Tautau Moga (hamstring) will be rested for another week. 

Fitzgibbon looking forward to facing the defending premiers

The big question

Roosters: Can Lachlan Lam and Drew Hutchison match wits with the vastly experienced Knights playmakers and ensure the Roosters give the Knights a stern test. Lam and Hutchison have played just 12 NRL games between them but they get a chance to steer the ship with all the Roosters big guns being rested.

Knights: How slick will the spine be? With Kalyn Ponga back on deck after All Stars duty, Newcastle's best 1, 7 and 9 will link for the first time ahead of round one. Halfback Mitchell Pearce and hooker Jayden Brailey played together last week.