Knights coach awaits duo for Eels match - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights coach awaits duo for Eels match

By Steve Jancetic 20/06/2010 07:12:26 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle coach Rick Stone is banking on the return of a pair of old heads against Parramatta on Monday night, hoping to get his side back in the hunt for an improbable run at the NRL finals.

Stone said it was vital his men restored a bit of credibility with their last win coming more than a month ago against the Sydney Roosters.

Since then they have lost three straight to sit six points outside the top eight but, with veteran Adam MacDougall set to play just his fifth game of the year and skipper Kurt Gidley returning after from an Origin experience he'd rather forget, Stone said there was good vibe heading into the clash with the inconsistent Eels.

"Adam brings plenty of confidence and definitely a bit of strike as well as the ability to score some points," Stone said of his veteran centre.

"He's been around for a while and he's got a real positive vibe when he comes in and the boys know he's going to play.

"And the skipper coming back - he's obviously had a pretty tumultuous couple of weeks himself and he's got a little bit to prove I would suggest as well."

Gidley will return to fullback after a couple of games at halfback before Origin commitments ruled him out of last week's loss to the Warriors.

Stone's latest solution to the halves dilemma which has cruelled the Knights' season is a Ben Rogers/Jarrod Mullen combination.

He admitted much of his faith in that partnership was based on the deeds of 2009, but the return of Gidley to the No.1 jumper was crucial.

"We've had probably four sets of halves this year but I think the thing that complements this pair is Kurt getting the chance to play fullback," Stone said.

"I think it's his best position and Rogers and Mullen get a chance to do something as a pairing as well.

"We've been in a position to win plenty of games this year and haven't been able to close the deal.

"We haven't talked about finals but if, mathematically we're going to get there, this is a game we have to win."

The Eels welcome back NSW pair Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh, Parramatta just a desperate to snare a win after slipping out of the top eight despite having the bye last weekend.

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