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After a narrow loss to the Warriors last weekend, the Newcastle Knights get a chance to get their season back on track, when they take on the Canterbury Bulldogs in Round 17. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:55pm (AEST).
With a host of stars unavailable through Origin and injury, the Knights went within a whisker last weekend of what would have been an impressive win against a full-strength Warriors side.
It wasn’t to be, however, the Knights still sit nicely within the top eight. Nevertheless, with the chasing pack becoming more congested, a home win against the Bulldogs tonight is almost essential.
At the time of writing, it was unknown as to who would back up from Origin, although Mitchell Pearce has been named to start in the halves, with Kurt Mann returning to the centres. Lachlan Fitzgibbon is out with an elbow injury, replaced by Sione Mata’utia.
David Klemmer, Daniel Saifiti and Tim Glasby have all been named on the reserves bench, so it would not surprise to see a few late changes to the final 17, despite only having 48 hours to back up.
Despite the benefit of the bye and a surprise win over a Sharks team best described as complacent, the Bulldogs still sit at the bottom of the ladder.
They are often competitive but don’t necessarily have the points in them to compete with the best sides in the competition. Dylan Napa is the only Origin rep so the team will be well-rested going into this clash.
The loss of Kieran Foran, due to a hamstring injury, is a large blow to the Bulldogs. He is replaced by Brandon Wakeham, playing his second game in the NRL. Renouf Toomaga will start from the bench in his first game of 2019.
The Knights will be hurting after last week’s loss and I expect them to get the 2 points this week in front of a big home crowd.
The margin may well depend on how many of the Origin forwards back up. I’m sensing that they all will if fit.
Knights by 12.
When: 7.55pm AEDT
Where: McDonald Jones Stadium
TV: Channel 9, Fox League
Online: NRL Live, Foxtel app or Foxtel now
Betting: Newcastle Knights: $1.39, Canterbury Bulldogs: $3.03
1. Connor Watson 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Kurt Mann 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. James Gavet 9. Danny Levi 10. Josh King 11. Jamie Buhrer 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Herman Ese’ese
Interchange: 14. Jacob Saifiti 15. Pasami Saulo 16. Phoenix Crossland 17. Aidan Guerra
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Brandon Wakeham 7. Jack Cogger 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Chris Smith
Interchange: 14. Adam Elliott 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Ofahiki Ogden 17. Sauaso Sue