Knights, Broncos challenge Origin stars

Newcastle's Nathan Brown (pic) and Brisbane's Anthony Seibold have dared Origin stars to back up. (AAP)

Ahead of their NRL clash, Newcastle's Nathan Brown and rival Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold have dared their State of Origin stars to back up.

Rival coaches Nathan Brown and Anthony Seibold have challenged their State of Origin stars to back up in Newcastle's home NRL clash with Brisbane.

Knights mentor Brown said Queensland's Kalyn Ponga (thigh) and Tim Glasby (elbow) and NSW's Daniel Saifiti were set to run out on Saturday against the Broncos alongside recovering Blues forward David Klemmer (wrist).

And Broncos coach Seibold said the onus was on Maroons winger Corey Oates and forward David Fifita to follow the lead of Origin teammate Matt Gillett if they were to snap a worrying two-game NRL losing streak.

All eyes might be on Knights playmaker Mitchell Pearce as he strives to earn a Blues recall for July 10's Origin series decider in Sydney.

He has been the key to the Knights' six-game winning run, snapped in a last-round loss to Melbourne.

However, Brown said it was also up to his Origin contingent to back up for the fifth-placed Knights.

"We are expecting all of those guys to be okay to play," he said of his Origin players.

"They are playing Origin for a reason. The best thing any player can do is, after Origin, play well for your club again.

"That's why clubs are in the top four or five of the competition because players not only do their job for the state but also their club."

Brisbane's Queensland forward Gillett marked his landmark 20th Origin in a horror 38-6 game-two loss to NSW in Perth.

Yet Seibold said his Maroons contingent could do worse than follow the veteran back-rower's example as the 12th-placed Broncos tried to stay in the top-eight hunt - especially after winger Oates and forward Fifita struggled in their 38-10 loss to Parramatta.

"Matt Gillett has been ultra-consistent across his whole career," Seibold said.

"Oatesy needs to know he needs to perform better than he did against Parramatta so there is a challenge there for him.

"And David Fifita is learning. But one thing I do know is that the best ones back up and do it again on the weekend after their Origin game so that is the challenge for David."

While plenty of Origin hopefuls would be on display on Saturday, Seibold reckoned the one to watch was Knights playmaker Pearce.

"Mitchell Pearce has probably been the form player of the competition, if not in the top couple of players," he said.

"We know what a threat they have got but we've got some strike power, too. It's about unlocking that and being consistent."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Newcastle have been awarded the most penalties (7.7 per game) but are also conceding the second most (7.7pg)

* Newcastle are busting the most tackles (28.2pg)

* Brisbane are averaging just 16.8pg, the third fewest in the league.

Source AAP

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