Knights to stick with revolving halves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights to stick with revolving halves

By Steve Jancetic 16/05/2010 11:41:43 AM Comments (0)

Newcastle coach Rick Stone may have finally found the answer to his halfback woes in the form of NSW Origin fullback Kurt Gidley, but admits he could once again be forced to turn to sacked playmaker Scott Dureau on Friday night.

Stone shuffled his deck with good success in beating the Sydney Roosters 34-18 at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night, with the inconsistent Dureau dumped to make way for Gidley at halfback and Shannon McDonnell coming in as the new fullback.

But it is a combination Stone won't be able to call on again for the foreseeable future with Gidley expected to begin an arduous Origin campaign with the Blues this week and McDonnell tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

That was just the start of the Knights' injury troubles as they finished the game with only one fit player on the bench, with hooker Isaac De Gois likely to be out for some time with suspected broken ribs and Evarn Tuimavavae doubtful to play again this season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

All three will have scans on their injuries on Monday, as will Junior Sa'u, who was a late withdrawal after damaging his hip in the pre-game warm-up.

Dureau's chances of winning a recall to face the Tigers seemingly rely on whether Jarrod Mullen can make it back from an ankle injury, while he would also come into contention with the likes of Matt Hilder and George Ndaira to replace De Gois at hooker.

"Scotty didn't have the world's best game last week and I've been talking to Gids a little bit about it over the course of the summer and we just thought it was the appropriate time considering what has gone on," Stone said.

Asked if the No.7 jumper was now Gidley's when Origin commitments did not intervene, Stone said: "I couldn't say that for sure, it's horses for courses at this stage.

"Gids has got a pretty big Origin series in front of him, there's no doubt about that.

"We'll definitely be needing Scotty and (Ben Rogers), there's no doubt both those blokes will have a massive impact on what we're doing and hopefully we're a chance of getting Mullo back next week so he'll add another one to the mix."

As for Gidley, he said he was happy to remain at halfback.

"It was different, I'm always up for something new, a different challenge," Gidley said.

"I don't mind defending, it might be something for the future, we'll have to wait and see."

With so many players sidelined, it was suggested Stone could struggle to field a competitive side against the Tigers, though Stone said the courage with which the side played with against the Roosters would hold them in good stead.

"While ever we've got players that want to play like they played today and players definitely get inspired by what they saw today, I reckon they'll jump the fence to be willing to play on Friday night."

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