Test for Nathan

NEWCASTLE coach Nathan Brown will face the first major test of his depth this weekend when the Knights take on St George Illawarra Dragons without injured five-eighth Connor Watson.

While the choice of replacement was an easy one for Brown, it has forced him to restructure the side both in terms of personnel and game style.

“Brock is totally a different type of player to Connor,” Brown said.

“We certainly need to look at what Brock’s skill-set is. I suppose there’s a few little adaptions as a team we will make to suit Brock. If he’s not hungry or keen in the coming weeks I’d be very surprised and very disappointed, to be honest with you.”

Teenage fullback Kalyn Ponga also admits his role is likely to be different due to Watson spending the next six weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

“I’ll probably look to vary it around as we have different personnel in there,” Ponga said. “So, I might shift around a bit.”

The former Cowboy has been explosive for his new club, averaging more than 100m running in his three Telstra Premiership matches.

With Watson missing, Ponga can now be more versatile and operate on either side of the ruck. He is looking forward to the challenges that await him from the red-hot Dragons at WIN Stadium on Sunday.

“I know Dufty at the back is pretty sharp and he’s a very good player,” Ponga told NRL.com.

Ponga said the Knights learned a valuable lesson against the Roosters last weekend.

“As a group we identified what went wrong and it was plenty of effort errors,” Ponga said.

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