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Sunday footy begins after the extraordinary events of yesterday with Canberra Raiders taking on the Newcastle Knights in a Suncorp Stadium showdown. Follow along withlive scores on The Roar from 1:50pm (AEST).
Peter V’landys has done it again – the NRL’s head honcho somehow convincing the Queensland government to allow the league to continue through the state’s snap COVID-19 lockdown. As a result, this vital match has only been delayed 24 hours.
Dead and buried just three weeks ago, a trio of wins have resurrected the Raiders’ season at a crucial time. Ricky Stuart’s team are looking more and more like the Green Machine of old with every passing week, first taking down Manly, then the Sharks, then squeaking past the Eels in a rip-snorting clash last week.
Sitting ninth, the Raiders need only to win and have one of the Sharks and Dragons suffer an expected loss to be back inside the eight, a remarkable rise. Their chances are boosted by the returns of Jack Wighton (ribs) and Elliott Whitehead (shoulder), who are both expected to play.
The Knights aren’t gone just yet, but this game looms as a four-point contest, with the loser to fall a game off the pace. The Knights’ horrible points differential also counts against them, with consecutive thrashings to the Storm and Roosters in recent weeks only worsening that predicament.
Mitchell Pearce has been named in the reserves as he recovers from a hamstring injury, and will surely start if deemed fit. Youngster Bradman Best has also made an early recovery from a syndesmosis injury.
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Enari Tuala, 3. Kurt Mann, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Phoenix Crossland, 7. Jake Clifford, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Jayden Brailey (c), 10. Daniel Saifiti (c), 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Mitchell Barnett, 13. Connor Watson
Bench/Reserves: 14. Sauaso Sue, 15. David Klemmer, 16. Josh King, 17. Brodie Jones | 18. Jirah Momoisea, 19. Simi Sasagi, 20. Tex Hoy, 21. Mitchell Pearce
1. Jordan Rapana, 2. Harley Smith-Shields, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Sebastian Kris, 5. Semi Valemei, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Emre Guler, 11. Corey Harawira-Naera, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Hudson Young
Bench/Reserves: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Matthew Timoko, 16. Iosia Soliola, 17. Joe Tapine | 18. Matt Frawley, 19. Ryan James, 20. Bailey Simonsson, 21. Dunamis Lui