PROMISING playmaker Tyrone Roberts has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Newcastle Knights.
Eighteen-year-old Roberts will partner veteran Daniel Abraham in the halves against the Newcastle Rugby League representative side in a trial at Tomaree Oval tonight.
Knights coach Rick Stone hopes Roberts and some other young stars seize the chance to shine against their experienced opponents.
Stone said he and the players were excited about their first hit-out of the pre-season, and he was particularly keen to see how Roberts, fullback Peter Mata'utia and forwards Josh Ailaomai and Zane Tetevano fared.
Those four will likely form the nucleus of Newcastle's National Youth Cup (under-20) team this year, and Stone said they had reaped the benefits of training with the club's full-time squad for most of the summer.
Stone believed Roberts had blossomed working alongside the likes of Jarrod Mullen and Scott Dureau. Skills coach and former captain Andrew Johns put Roberts and the other halves through their paces at training on Wednesday.
"It will be a nice test for Tyrone playing against men. He'll likely be our six or seven in the 20s this year," Stone said.
The Knights will play the first two quarters, then the Central Coast Centurions NSW Cup squad will replace them for the next two periods. The game starts at 6.30pm.
Newcastle's NYC squad will play Northern Blues in the curtain-raiser at 4.30pm.
Blues coach Robert Relf does not know what to expect from his side.
The club are celebrating 100 years in the Newcastle Rugby League this season and their first assignment is today's trial match.
Former Knights centre Mat Cooper returned to Nelson Bay last year and signed with the Blues. Cooper, who played at Cronulla last year and Central Charlestown in 2008 following his stint at the Knights, is the perfect replacement for star centre Marvin Filipo.
Filipo played for Newcastle and NSW Country last year and the Knights snapped up the exciting centre for the Centurions squad.
Cooper will play for the Blues then back up for the Newcastle representative team tonight.
Stone will run the senior Knights squad through a training run at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook, from 9am today, then players will sign autographs and meet fans as part of a registration day for all Group 21 junior clubs.
[PI9016] The Knights kick off their NSW Rugby League junior representative season against St George at Cessnock Sportsground today. Newcastle play the Dragons in Harold Matthews (under 16s) at 4pm and SG Ball (under 18s) at 5.30pm.