Knights coach Adam O'Brien is banking on Tex Hoy's X-factor with the footy to ignite Newcastle's attack after pulling a selection shock by dumping five-eighth Mason Lino for Sunday's clash with St George Illawarra.
The Newcastle Herald can reveal Hoy is set to start his first NRL game at five-eighth against the Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium just a fortnight out from the play-offs. He trained in the position on Tuesday.
He will be skipper Mitchell Pearce's fourth halves partner this season with Kurt Mann, Blake Green and Lino all previously having spent time in the No.6 jersey.
Lino has spent the past three weeks in the position but despite the positives of his goal-kicking, has paid the price for a below par performance in the 42-12 thumping by the Sydney Roosters last Saturday night.
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Hoy switches into the five-eighth role after deputising for a rested Kalyn Ponga at fullback against the Roosters.
Ponga returns for the Dragons clash along with other rested stars Mitch Barnett and Hymel Hunt with Hunt set to play his first game of the season in the centres with Gehamat Shibasaki making way. Starford To'a will retain his place on the wing.
Meanwhile, Chris Randall is set to play just his second NRL game as a starting hooker following Kurt Mann's one game suspension with youngster Phoenix Crossland back on the bench after missing the Roosters game as a precaution following a concussion.
The squad trained together on Tuesday morning.
The full Knights team for the Dragons clash will be officially announced at 4 pm.
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