A horror injury toll has forced Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien into his third five-eighth of the season with Mason Lino to get his first start for the year on Saturday.
The 26-year-old is set to line up against his former club the Warriors in Tamworth after the Knights lost Blake Green to a season-ending ACL injury last week.
Lino played 12 games in the halves for the Knights last season but until this week has not been given a run under O'Brien.
While Lino's skill set and kicking game are quality, there have been question marks over his defence - an area that O'Brien has strengthened in the side this season.
However, on Friday O'Brien said he had worked closely with Lino on improving and is confident he can slot into the defensive systems against the tough Warriors.
"It's been a long time coming for him but he's done a really good job of organising our opposition at training and that's a really hard thing to do," O'Brien said.
"We're asking a guy with 10 minutes preparation to run a team and he does it exceptionally well.
"He'll give a kicking option for Mitchell (Pearce), he'll organise a team and he's quite dangerous with the football and we've worked really hard with him defensively, he understands his role."
"He'll get the job done."
The Knights are sitting seventh on the ladder but could jump as high as fifth by the end of the weekend if they can make it four straight wins.
And while the Knights have been hit hard by injuries this season, the Warriors have also proved their resilience.
The teams met in round one with the Knights scoring a 20-0 win, but a lot has changed since then.
Although a long shot at playing finals, the Warriors are still in with a chance if they keep winning.
"They're playing a really tough brand of footy at the moment, high completions, getting to their kicks. I've really noticed that change in them over the last four weeks," O'Brien said of the Warriors, who have won three of their past four games."
*STATS THAT MATTER***
*Newcastle has been involved in some close games recently with eight of its past nine games decided by 12 points or less, including five games by six points or fewer.
*The Warriors have won all six games this season when scoring more than 12 points but have lost all nine when scoring 12 points or less.
*Kalyn Ponga has 88 tackle-busts this season, second most behind David Nofoaluma (93). He also leads the Knights in try assists and linebreak assists (both 13), as well as linebreaks with 10.