Knights legend Kurt Gidley will be thrown straight into the action at the NRL Nines tonight with the retired former skipper set to start in Newcastle's opening game against the Warriors in Perth.
Gidley will form a three-pronged halves rotation alongside Kurt Mann and Mason Lino with assistant coach Willie Peters confirming the 37-year-old won't be eased into the competition.
"Gids has been great around the boys and he'll be playing our first game," Peters said. "He's always been a great competitor and will set a real example as far as that goes."
The Knights boast a relatively young squad with a host of big names including the likes of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga missing and are rated among the outsiders to win the Nines.
They will take on the Warriors tonight before meeting Penrith tomorrow morning in their bid to qualify for the quarter finals.
But while results won't be the be-all-and-end-all, Peters said there will be an expectation around the effort areas in attack and defence and believes the squad's fitness will be a real asset.
"The big thing we have been stressing is effort with and without the ball and communication," he said.
"We won't be playing structured but we'll still have an emphasis on finishing our sets because the more you do that, the more fatigued the opposition gets so nothing really changes there. We'll be encouraging the boys to play eyes up to take advantage of any opportunities."
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