Knights coach happy with halves rotation - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights coach happy with halves rotation

By Todd Balym 07/04/2009 05:35:13 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle coach Brian Smith says he will persist with Jarrod Mullen playing off the interchange bench as the one-time NSW halfback continues his return from a rib injury.

Mullen made a sudden comeback against Manly last Sunday, replacing halfback Scott Dureau after 30 minutes as the Knights ran out 26-12 winners.

Smith said he was pleased with the rotation and would utilise it again this Sunday at EnergyAustralia Stadium against the Warriors - the team that first employed the tactic in 2009.

Warriors legend Stacey Jones made his NRL comeback off the bench in round two and inspired his side to a come-from-behind win over Manly.

Jones is now starting halfback for the Warriors with Kiwi World Cup hero Nathan Fien used off the bench.

"We generally play four forwards, we don't like to carry backs but we've had a look at what happens in some other clubs and with Stacey Jones' return for New Zealand, they nursed him through the initial stages and brought him on through the bench," Smith said.

"I also noticed at Penrith they carried Wade Graham off the bench in the last couple of games and it seems to have worked for them reasonably well.

"Sometimes those things need to be reviewed so you get a better outcome and I really like the way both our guys (Dureau and Mullen) played last weekend.

"His (Dureau's) opening to the game and the way Jarrod came into the game and finished it off, we were really pleased with."

Second-rower Cory Paterson will return from an ankle injury this Sunday while the Warriors could recall hulking winger Manu Vatuvei even though he was not named on Tuesday.

Vatuvei has not played for two weeks with a knee cartilage injury but could be a late inclusion.

"We'll see how Manu goes during the week but at this stage he's a chance of being included," said Warriors coach Ivan Cleary.

Captain Steve Price (throat), utility Lance Hohaia (knee) and second rower Ben Matulino (ankle) have again been ruled out of returning on Sunday.

Sydney Roosters star Willie Mason will start on the interchange bench as he and Nate Myles return from a club suspension against Brisbane on Friday night.

Parramatta youngster Taulima Tautai has been promoted from the NSW Cup at the expense of winger Joel Reddy for Friday's clash with St George Illawarra.

Gold Coast captain Scott Prince returns for Saturday's away clash with North Queensland after he missed two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Prince replaces Preston Campbell who has strained his calf muscle.

"He's come through everything okay and hasn't missed any training this week," said Titans coach John Cartwright.

"He probably could have played last week at a pinch so he'll be fine.

"Playing the Cowboys and Johnathan Thurston, he'll be right on top of his game I'd imagine."

South Sydney coach Jason Taylor has recalled centre Beau Champion for Monday's clash with the Bulldogs, replacing Shaune Corrigan who has a broken leg.

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore named an unchanged line-up, with Daryl Millard retaining his centre position as boom youngster Jamal Idris was ordered back to the under 20s squad after serving a one-match ban for an alcohol indiscretion.

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