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Newcastle's Johns, Gidley cleared

By Brent Read 30/03/2005 10:47:23 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle will head to Townsville as close to full strength as it has been this season with Andrew Johns and Matthew Gidley passing searching fitness tests.

Johns (buttock) and Gidley (groin) were put through their paces on Wednesday afternoon and did enough to confirm their places on the plane to north Queensland.

With the international pair on deck, coach Michael Hagan is able to pair Kurt Gidley and Johns in the halves and return Matthew Gidley to the centres.

And their availability means the only big names missing from the Newcastle line-up for the clash with the Cowboys will be Danny Buderus (shoulder), Josh Perry (wrist), Mark Hughes (rib) and Adam Woolnough (neck).

"I had a bit of a run this afternoon," Gidley said.

"It feels good. I'm more than happy to move back out (to the centres)."

The Knights don't have to look far for inspiration ahead of Saturday night's game.

Only two seasons ago they beat the Cowboys 60-24 at Dairy Farmers Stadium after leading 48-0 at halftime.

Much has changed since then, however.

The Cowboys are now regarded as genuine premiership threats and will start Saturday night's game as heavy favourites.

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