KNIGHTS coach Wayne Bennett has stuck solid with halfback Tyrone Roberts for Newcastle’s must-win game against Gold Coast Titans at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Bennett named Roberts to partner captain Jarrod Mullen in the halves, experienced mid-year recruit Craig Gower to come off the bench as he did in his Knights debut in Melbourne 10 days ago, and Danny Buderus to return at hooker after back surgery almost three months ago.

One of only four Knights to play every game this season, 22-year-old Roberts has started 10 games at halfback and come off the bench in four.

There has been speculation Bennett could start Gower alongside Mullen and push Roberts to the bench, and that remains an option he could consider later in the week, but it is understood Roberts will be given another chance as the Knights try to end a four-game losing streak.

After coming off the bench in consecutive home wins against the Cowboys and Raiders in late March, Buderus has been sidelined since aggravating a bulging disc in his lower back on the morning of Newcastle’s 19-16 loss to the Dragons at Kogarah on April 7.

The 35-year-old veteran missed that game and nine more while recovering from his second back operation this year. Bennett has the option of using Gower or Roberts to share the dummy-half duties against the Titans, who are fifth after their 18-12 victory over Melbourne on Monday.

Cook Islands international Zane Tetevano was named on the bench alongside Gower, Chris Houston and Neville Costigan. It will be Tetevano’s first NRL appearance this season after the 22-year-old front-rower finished last season by playing the last 11 games in first grade.

Timana Tahu, Kevin Naiqama, Matt Hilder, Korbin Sims and Adam Cuthbertson were named in a star-studded NSW Cup team to play Wests Tigers.


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