Seven games without victory has seen Newcastle Knights’ chances of securing a finals berth are becoming merely a mathematical possibility. They will be hoping to reverse Round 5’s 28-2 loss to North Queensland Cowboys this weekend, when they host Paul Green’s side at Hunter Stadium.
Knights have the chance to escape the bottom of the table against a Cowboys side struck cruelly by injury after Origin II. Winger Brent Tate (anterior cruciate ligament) and prop Matt Scott (fractured cheekbone) are expected to be sidelined for an extended period, although they have been named in the squad.
Darius Boyd has been named to return for Knights following Queensland duty, which will see Kurt Gidley shift back to hooker and Adam Clydsdale drop to the bench. Joey Leilua also returns from the throat injury that saw him miss last weekend’s defeat against the Sydney Roosters.
Cowboys haven’t won away from home since Round 25 in the 2013 and will look to snap their losing streak on the road, if they want to move up the table from their current position of ninth.
Tariq Sims returns from suspension, pushing Jason Taumalolo down to the bench, in the only change to the side that faced Parramatta Eels in Round 13.
Knights have their season on the line and with Scott’s suspension for Cowboys, they may face a little more joy in the pack than was expected. However, Cowboys have great quality with Michael Morgan and Jonathan Thurston in the backs.
Both sides are desperate for victory, but Knights know their season rests in the balance and probably could win by four in a tight encounter.
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