NRL Knights Gidley gets licence to roam - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL Knights Gidley gets licence to roam

22/08/2008 04:41:42 PM Comments (0)

With Newcastle's NRL season hanging in the balance, fullback Kurt Gidley is finally free to do what he does best - a little bit of everything.

The Test utility will again line up at the back when the Knights host North Queensland on Saturday night, but gone are the burdens that have required him to play the majority of his time at first receiver.

With Jarrod Mullen and Scott Dureau partnered in the halves and skipper Danny Buderus taking care of dummy half duties, Newcastle coach Brian Smith has re-issued Gidley's licence to roam; to pick and choose when to assert himself.

"That's what I prefer to do, especially for myself but also the team when there's two halves calling the shots I can just float around and do what I do," Gidley said.

"I think that's when we play our best when we've got the two halves named there.

"Last week and weeks in the past I've played a bit of fullback and then had to play in the halves when we've only had one other half or five-eighth there.

"With Bedds, me and the two halves on the field at the same time I think it's going to be good for us."

But while the playmakers have been restored, the Knights backrow is in tatters with NSW representative Steve Simpson (neck) and fellow second rower Cory Patterson (shoulder) both ruled out by injuries suffered in last week's 38-18 loss to Canberra.

Cameron Ciraldo and Chris Houston have been named as their replacements in the 18-man squad, with Smith to delay a decision on the run-on side until just before kickoff.

Last week's loss left the Knights one competition point outside the top eight and there is no more room for error with three wins needed from their last three matches to book a finals berth.

With games against Melbourne and Brisbane to follow the meeting with the Cowboys, the Knights have one of the toughest runs home of sides battling for the eight.

"If we make the semis we're going to be seventh or eighth and we're going to be playing one of those sides anyway," Gidley said of the run home.

"You've got to beat them at some stage."

While the Cowboys aren't in finals contention, the Knights won't be taking them for granted.

Boosted by the return of skipper Johnathan Thurston last week, North Queensland looked a far more dangerous proposition despite going down to a Scott Prince-inspired Gold Coast.

"They're in a position where we were last year," Gidley said.

"You certainly don't want to be winning any wooden spoon. They'll be trying to rip in these last three games."

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