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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.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 Asu Kepaoa
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 McKenzie Baker
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Christian Tuipulotu
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 James Tuitahi
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat Shibasaki
  • Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan Lam
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Drew Hutchison
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Daniel Fifita
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Freddy Lussick
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Poasa Faamausili
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Egan Butcher
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Tom Freebairn
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Max Bailey
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Luca Moretti
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Connor Watson
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Tagiolupe Tivalu
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Elih Jackson
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Jacob Saifiti
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Ben Thomas
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Tim Glasby

Reserves

  • Reserve for Knights is number 12 Tyronne Roberts-Davis
  • Reserve for Knights is number 18 Tex Hoy
  • Reserve for Knights is number 19 Pasami Saulo
  • Reserve for Knights is number 20 Mason Lino
  • Reserve for Knights is number 21 Starford To'a
  • Reserve for Knights is number 27 Chris Randall