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Newcastle Knights vs Parramatta Eels NRL preview and prediction

The Knights host the Panthers in Friday night footy. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
12th July, 2018
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The Knights host the Eels on Friday night, in a battle of two sides out of finals contention.

Newcastle have won just one of their past eight games, losing 36-16 to the Bulldogs at home last time out, and will be looking to avoid a bottom-four finish after such a promising start to the season.

The Knights have some key changes, with halfback Mitchell Pearce back after missing nine games, pushing Jack Cogger to the reserves. Exciting youngster Nick Meaney debuts at fullback for Kalyn Ponga, who has a hamstring issue, with Danny Levi starting at hooker for the injured Slade Griffin.

As for the Eels, they had their hearts broken in their most recent match, conceding two tries in the final six minutes to go down 22-18 to the Dragons in Wollongong in a game they probably deserved to win on balance.

Brad Arthur has stuck pretty solid with his side after their strong display against the Red V, with Tepai Moeroa returning on the bench for Will Smith the only change.

Verdict
While Newcastle will really miss Ponga, Meaney is a great signing at fullback for the Bulldogs next season, plus the home side get Pearce back.

Parra would’ve really had the wind taken out of their sails by that last-minute defeat against the Dragons, and since the Knights were ordinary against Canterbury, I’m expecting a reaction in front of those same fans who saw them fold a couple of weeks ago.

Knights by 1-8 in a high-scoring game.