On-field leader set to miss out on tackling the Raiders in round four.
Newcastle will be without key playmaker Kurt Gidley as they look to take down an in-form Canberra Raiders side this weekend at Hunter Stadium.
Gidley was named by Wayne Bennett to take on the North Queensland Cowboys in round three before being a late withdrawal due to a calf strain.
However, Bennett’s decision to leave Gidley out again is off-set by the combination shown by Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts against the Cowboys.
Despite being brought into the side late, Roberts showed the poise and vision the Knights will need if Gidley is unable to be fully fit for a number of weeks.
Mullen is also in excellent early season form with his kicking game against North Queensland a highlight, as he constantly found space and kept the ball away from Cowboys’ fullback Matt Bowen with his long-range efforts.
While his choices closer to the line, whether to send the ball into the air or along the ground, also paid dividends for his side as they ran out comfortable 34-6 winners.
Korbin Sims, who made his debut last round, maintains his place in the side with Willie Mason (calf, round five) and Beau Scott (groin, indefinite) out while Timana Tahu will make his season debut from the bench.
For Canberra, Reece Robinson looks to have sewn up his place at fullback for the rest of the season in the wake of Josh Dugan’s sacking, with another sparkling performance against the Dragons.
Matt McIlwrick, who has been added to the Raiders’ bench as an 18th man, is the only addition to the side with Terry Campese not far away from returning from his knee injury sustained last year.
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Anthony Quinn, Alex McKinnon, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Danny Buderus, David Fa’alogo, Robbie Rochow, Chris Houston (capt), Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Timana Tahu, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, Korbin Sims.
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jarrod Croker, Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton, Josh McCrone (capt), Sam Williams, David Shillington (capt), Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Joe Picker, Dane Tilse, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Matt McIlwrick