Willie Mason will be free to roam at the Auckland Nines after being named in the Knights' squad. Grant Trouville/NRL Photos Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
The Newcastle Knights 16-man squad for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines features five-eighth Jarrod Mullen as captain and plenty of NRL experience in the backline.
Attacking centres Joseph Leilua and Dane Gagai, and Fijian test winger Akuila Uate will all feature, along with some experienced forwards.
Back rower Beau Scott said the Knights side named has all the attributes to succeed at the inaugural tournament, listing Uate, Leilua, Gagai and NYC graduate Jake Mamo as players to watch out for at the Nines.
"It is an unknown, so it is pretty hard to train for and we haven't focused on it too much but from our side, I think there are a couple of young kids to look out for," Scott said.
"You’ve got Jake Mamo and he is lightning, so it will be good to see him get a run. Then there’s Aku and Dane (Gagai), this is probably their style of football; they are pretty evasive players.
"Other than that, we’ve got a fair bit of experience."
Scott said the forwards will also play a significant role in the fast-paced format.
"I think it will be like the real game of league and everyone will have a role to play.
"There should be a lot of football played and it will be interesting to see the way it will all unfold.
"I also think everyone is going to be competitive on the day.
"It’s nine-minute halves, so there isn’t a long time to be out on the field for. It’s going to be pretty electric."
Full Knights squad
1. Chanel Mata’utia
2. Jake Mamo
3. Dane Gagai
4. Joseph Leilua
5. Akuila Uate
6. Jarrod Mullen (c)
7. Tyrone Roberts
8. Willie Mason
9. Adam Clydsdale
10. Chris Houston
11. Beau Scott
12. Robbie Rochow
13. Jeremy Smith
14. Michael Dobson
15. Alex McKinnon
16. Zane Tetevano