Date: Saturday, 23rd August
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-off: 5:30pm (local time)
Brisbane Broncos: Lachlan Maranta, Daniel Vidot, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Dale Copley, Ben Barba, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Corey Parker, Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday. Interchange: Jarrod Wallace, Martin Kennedy, Ben Hannant, Corey Oates
Newcastle Knights: Kurt Gidley, Chanel Mata’utia, Dane Gagai, Joseph Leilua, Sione Mata’utia, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Adam Clydsdale, Willie Mason, Beau Scott, Robbie Rochow, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Travis Waddell, Korbin Sims, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo, Chris Houston
The Newcastle Knights are now free of finishing last place on the NRL ladder and receiving the wooden spoon. A good effort considering their dreadful start to the season, a well earned result. Over the past few weeks the Knights have shown us they can certainly do the unthinkable while on the turf in front of a strong Hunter crowd. With now just two of their last three games of the season at home against reasonably under-strength sides, the opportunity to go out of the 2014 season on a positive note now lingers before them.
Although there is one more loophole in this unfortunate chain of events that has been their season, playing the Brisbane Broncos at their much-publicized fortress, Suncorp Stadium.
The Brisbane Broncos sit on 24 points in tenth place on the NRL ladder. To make the finals it is well-known the cutoff for contention is the 28 point mark, but in the tightest NRL season we’ve seen in a long time the finals may well be decided by point differential and not wins and losses. If the Broncos manage to mess this one up, with a Round 26 fixture against the Storm at AAMI Park their season could well be over.
To add to the fierce desperation that will fuel the natural competitiveness of this fixture, Saturday’s game will be the first and last time Knights coach Wayne Bennett faces off with his old club, the Broncos, before he makes his return to the Brisbane club next season. If the media hysteria that generated by the release of Wayne’s move was correct, we can expect to see some of the Knights’ squad from 2014 follow Wayne and be signed with the Broncos in 2015.
For the Knights, hooker Travis Waddell will make way for 21-year old Adam Clysdale in the number nine jersey while Willie Mason will make his return to prop following an illness. No changes for the Broncos.
Broncos by 10.