Mann's move helped Knights secure Green

Kurt Mann's move to hooker enabled Newcastle to secure the services of Blake Green.
Kurt Mann's move to hooker enabled Newcastle to secure the services of Blake Green.

Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien was mulling over whether to look for a five-eighth or hooker to solve his injury crisis when Kurt Mann simplified the choice.

The 27-year-old has been one of the Knights' best at five-eighth, but after losing all three of the team's dummy half options to season-ending injuries, Mann put his hand up for the job.

Oft used as a utility due to his versatility, Mann was relishing a stable role in the halves in 2020, but his team-first attitude allowed O'Brien to go after unwanted Warriors star Blake Green.

"There's only been one game this year where Kurt has played the whole game at five-eighth," O'Brien said.

"When we've moved him (to hooker) he's been a really effective defender in the middle and obviously I've made it clear I like effective defenders.

"To his credit he was the one that brought it to me that he'd go in there if need be, so Kurt will start."

Following a mid-week move, Green will start alongside Mitchell Pearce against the Wests Tigers in Saturday's match in Newcastle.

It'll be the second week in a row he has played the side after leading the Warriors to a 26-20 win over the Tigers last Friday night.

It will be Green's seventh NRL club since making his debut back in 2007 and is only the third player in history to play first grade for as many clubs.

And while the injury-hit Knights are clinging to finals hopes, the Tigers are just as hungry.

Star hooker Harry Grant underwent surgery on his knee on Friday morning and is expected to be out for between three and four weeks.

It has prompted yet another shake up in the spine, with Luke Brooks recalled to the starting side to partner Benji Marshall in the halves, while Moses Mbye moves to dummy half.

It will be the fifth halves and hooker combination coach Michael Maguire has used this season but he refuses to use it as an excuse for inconsistency.

"You may not see it when the team is selected but I change all the time with our training and look at combinations, so that's an excuse really," he said.

"The consistency I'm after is in our defence and everyone knows that, we've got to make sure we're strong as a defensive team.

"Everyone talks about cohesion in a team but I've got someone like Benji and Brooksy that have played for six or seven years together.

"I've got (Mbye) who's played in a grand final at No.9. so that's experience.

"When those boys come together with all the training that we do, it's just doing their job."

*STATS THAT MATTER*

*The Knights have not conceded over 18 points in Newcastle in the past five matches and will aim to do so in six straight games for the first time since 2012-2013.

*The Tigers will be aiming to avoid a third straight loss for the first time since Rounds 16-18 last year.

*The Tigers are scoring the equal most points in the opening 20 minutes of matches (88, for 7.3 per game) along with the Roosters.

Australian Associated Press