Mitchell Pearce directs proceedings at team training session in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP
Mitchell Pearce directs proceedings at team training session in Newcastle on Tuesday. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP

Knights skipper Pearce to return after 10 weeks on sidelines

SKIPPER Mitchell Pearce will return for Newcastle in Friday's NRL clash with Parramatta.

With Pearce missing the past 10 weeks due a pectoral injury, the side has struggled during that time.

Coach Nathan Brown said Pearce had been cleared by medical staff and would take on the Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Parramatta, meanwhile, has named former NSW centre Michael Jennings after his game for reserve-grade side Wentworthville last week.

In other team news, Penrith will hand Caleb Aekins his NRL debut in place of injured fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak when they take on Cronulla at Panthers Stadium, also on Friday.

Wade Graham returns from a cheek injury for the Sharks following an interrupted first half of the season.

Melbourne has received a big boost to its engine room with Jesse Bromwich (hamstring) back, while Jahrome Hughes is a surprise selection at halfback ahead of Ryley Jacks and Brodie Croft for Saturday's match against Manly at Lottoland.

Canberra strike weapon Jordan Rapana (hamstring) will be back to face North Queensland at GIO Stadium on Saturday. Blake Austin remains on the bench despite his game-winning effort against Canterbury.

Benji Marshall and Ben Matulino will inject some experience into the Wests Tigers side for their clash with St George Illawarra at Jubilee Oval on Sunday.

The Sydney Roosters have rested skipper Boyd Cordner, who has Origin commitments on Wednesday night, for Sunday's clash with the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.

- AAP



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