Pickers coach Matt Lantry has reshuffled his line-up as Matt Soper-Lawler returns from a two-week injury lay-off for Saturday's state final qualifier at Maitland Sportsground.
Soper-Lawler, who was training with the Knights squad earlier this year prior to the coronavirus crisis, slots onto the wing after recovering from his quad complaint.
Elijah Rasiga moves to the bench while Jarred Anderson is now 18th man for the President's Cup elimination semi between the minor premiers and fourth-placed Hills Bulls.
"Matt [Soper-Lawler] sat out Tuesday but trained well on Thursday night and comes back in on the wing," Lantry told the Newcastle Herald.
"He's part of our best 17 and if he was fit we always wanted him in there. Hopefully the extra rest has given him the time to recover."
Lantry said it was a tough decision to leave out utility Anderson, a Scottish World Cup representative and former Roosters under-20 title winner who is on loan from Kurri.
"They [Anderson and Rasiga] have both had good years for us. It was like splitting hairs," Lantry said.
"We went with Elijah because he gives us coverage for the outside backs and we still have Henry Penn in the centres who can slide across and do a job in the back-row.
"If we went with Jarred we would have had four forwards on the bench and run the risk of being short in the backs if someone goes down."
Lantry said there was a "sense of occasion" around the encounter. He feels "patience in attack" and "kick chase" will be key factors.
Maitland beat Hills 22-18 when they met in round three. Both sides have conceded just 98 points during the eight-game campaign.
Lantry said around 500 tickets had already been sold for the NSW Rugby League event. The Pickers have been approved to host a crowd of up to 2500. Kick-off is 3:15pm.
Glebe Burwood and North Sydney play in Saturday's other semi at Leichhardt Oval (4pm). Winners progress to the decider at Bankwest Stadium on September 27.
MAITLAND: Daniel Langbridge, Matt Soper-Lawler, Henry Penn, Gary Anderson, James Bradley, Chad O'Donnell, Brock Lamb, James Taylor, Alex Langbridge (c), Jayden Butterfield, Cooper Jenkins, Jacob McCudden, Callan Burgess, Elijah Rasiga, Faitotoa Faitotoa, Marvin Filipo, Sam Anderson, Jarred Anderson (18th man).
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