Raiders: 1 Anthony Milford 2 Reece Robinson 3 Jarrod Croker 4 Matt Allwood 5 Edrick Lee 6 Jack Wighton 7 Terry Campese (C) 8 Dane Tilse 9 Glen Buttriss 10 Brett White 11 Josh Papalii 12 Joel Edwards 13 Shaun Fensom Interchange 14 Josh McCrone 15 Jarrad Kennedy 16 Paul Vaughan 17 Shannon Boyd.
The Newcastle Knights host the Canberra Raiders at Hunter Stadium on Sunday night, with both teams looking to atone for disappointing performances in round one.
The Knights were overwhelmed 30-8 by the Penrith Panthers at Sportingbet Stadium, and suffered injuries to Kurt Gidley, Tyrone Roberts and Darius Boyd, with Jarred Mullen already on the sidelines. Gidley and Roberts return for this clash, but Boyd’s hamstring injury will keep him out for a few more weeks.
The Raiders jumped out to an early 16-0 lead against the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES stadium before Jonathan Thurston and Jason Taumalolo inspired their team to a 28-22 victory.
The Knights have moved Gidley to fullback to cover Boyd, and former Raider Travis Waddell comes into the side at hooker. The Raiders have named an unchanged line-up and based on round one performances will probably go into this one as favourites.
Since 2005, there have been six games between the two clubs played in Newcastle, with the home side taking the points on four occasions, but I see a bit more strike power in the Raiders in 2014 with Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker and Edrick Lee in their back line. Boyd is a key player for the Knights, offering speed, agility and play making ability and his loss is huge. Gidley is adequate but doesn’t pose a similar threat from the back.
Both sides have plenty of points in them but can leak points. The team that muscles up in defence will be the team that wins.