Johns leads all-star Knights outfit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johns leads all-star Knights outfit

24/02/2004 08:51:51 PM Comments (0)

Andrew Johns will lead a formidable Newcastle side in the National Rugby League trial against North Queensland in Mackay.

The Knights will run most of their international stars onto the field for Saturday night's match, which will be Johns' first since August 9 last year.

That game was also against the Cowboys, but the NSW captain has spent the intervening months recovering from a serious neck injury.

Danny Buderus, Ben Kennedy, Timana Tahu, Matthew Gidley, Steve Simpson and Robbie O'Davis will also return to the team after missing Newcastle's first pre-season trial against the Sydney Roosters last week.

The only first grader missing from the Knights' team is centre Mark Hughes - his replacement, former Test player Russell Richardson, joined the club this year from South Sydney.

Newcastle coach Michael Hagan said he was looking forward to the match against the Cowboys.

"This time last year we played the Cowboys in Cairns which provided a very good work-out on the eve of the premiership and I'm expecting a similar result again this year," Hagan said.

"The Cowboys have built up well during the off-season and I would certainly expect them to figure strongly in the semi final race in 2004.

"We certainly need to be on our game in time for round one. With five away games to start the season, our mettle will be tested from the outset."

Meanwhile, St George Illawarra received a huge boost when two of its stars were named to return from injury against the Bulldogs on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

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