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An increasingly resilient New Zealand Warriors side ‘host’ the Newcastle Knights, who are seeking four straight wins. Join The Roar for live scores from 3:00pm (AEST).
Despite looking unlikely to get the result against the Canterbury Bulldogs when trailing 10-0 and 14-6, the Warriors found a way to get the job done. That makes it three wins from their last four, and the team who can’t go home is somehow one of the most in-form teams in the competition.
The New Zealand side’s game plan is simple – power running through the middle, translating to fast play-the-balls, which gives their dangerous halves Harris-Tavita and Nikorima time to scheme.
The Warriors have also benefited from the services of a host of players with points to prove to the teams that loaned them out. Jack Murchie, Daniel Alvaro and Robert Jennings have all looked like better players since joining the Kiwi side on loan. The desire of these players to play well and show their parent teams what they’re missing out on has translated to steel and resolve for the Warriors, two qualities often eluding them in past seasons.
Newcastle have been on a hot streak of their own, with a hat-trick of wins forming their longest winning run of the season after beating the Cowboys 12-0. The clean sheet will please coach Adam O’Brien, but only scoring twice against the second leakiest defence in the competition will not.
The team from the Hunter’s wretched luck with injuries to their spine continued, with new recruit Blake Green ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
It’s important for the Knights to build momentum heading into the finals. Having won three straight would mean little if they fail to back it up this week against a side out of the finals race. The Warriors are playing well and feeling no pressure, which makes this a real danger game for Newcastle. The ‘home’ team looks the value.
Kick-off: 3:00pm (AEST)
Venue: Scully Park, Tamworth
TV: Fox Sports
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel, NRL Live Pass
Odds: Warriors $2.80, Knights $1.44
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Adam Pompey, 3. Hayze Perham, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. George Jennings, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Karl Lawton, 10. Lachlan Burr, 11. Eliesa Katoa, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Jazz Tevaga
Bench/Reserves: 14. Wayde Egan, 15. Adam Blair, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Jack Murchie, 18. Isaiah Papali’i, 20. Gerard Beale, 21. Josh Curran, 22. Paul Turner
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Starford To’a, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Gehamat Shibasaki, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Mason Lino, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Kurt Mann, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Mitchell Barnett
Bench/Reserves: 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Herman Ese’ese, 16. Josh King, 17. Pasami Saulo, 18. Brodie Jones, 19. Chris Randall, 20. Tex Hoy, 21. Jirah Momoisea