When Newcastle took on Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium last time out, it was a 24-all draw.  Brenko Lee scoring late for the Raiders to level scores.  It took Jordan Rapana’s 85th minute try to separate teams at GIO Stadium.  Could there be more drama on Sunday when these two sides face off?

LAST TIME OUT

Before the Representative weekend, Newcastle took on the Gold Coast Titans in a bottom of the table clash at CBUS Super Stadium.  The Titans had their tails up after winning the week prior against Cronulla Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium.  All the Knights points were scored in the first quarter with Sam Stone, son of former coach Rick, scoring after thirteen minutes. A penalty goal from Brock Lamb saw them lead 8-0.  It was all the Coast after that initial period with Ryan James, Konrad Hurrell and Jarryd Hayne best on field for the home side.  Hayne and Hurrell scoring doubles as the Titans scored 38 unanswered points.

Canberra are also last match losers having gone down to Canterbury Bulldogs 16-10 at ANZ Stadium.  First half tries to Jarrod Croker and Josh Hodgson put the Green Machine ahead 10-4 at half time.  Scores were level shortly after the break thanks to Josh Morris’ try and with twenty minutes remaining the Dogs hit the lead thanks to Adam Elliot’s second.  The home side holding on for victory.  Another impressive performance from rookie Nick Cotric in the beaten side.

KEY BATTLES

With this week’s focus on the Indigenous Round you can’t go past Dane Gagai’s battle with Joseph Leilua.  Gagai becoming the latest player being linked with a rival club in the Sydney Roosters for 2018 during the week.  Leilua is one of the Raiders best firepower out wide having crossed six times in nine appearances this year.  Both will have influence over their respective backlines.

The halves match-up between Aidan Sezer and Jaelen Feeney should be closely watched. Feeney has been in and out of top grade footy over the last few seasons and has the makings of being a talented half option for the Knights.  Sezer has worked hard on his game and is an outside chance of making Laurie Daley’s Origin side when it’s announced soon (that’s if New South Wales want to take a risk and blood some new players).

PREDICTION

Newcastle are always a better proposition at home and despite going down 24-6 over Easter against the Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium, they were competitive for an hour of the game.  Canberra have won one from their last five games away from home and this will be a danger game.  Having said that they might just sneak home.

Raiders by 4

SQUADS

2pm AEST Sunday, May 14 at McDonald Jones Stadium

Knights team: 1. Brendan Elliott 2. Ken Sio 3. Dane Gagai 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Nathan Ross 6. Brock Lamb 7. Jaelen Feeney 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Danny Levi 10. Josh Starling 11. Sione Mata’utia 12. Sam Stone 13. Luke Yates 14. Anthony Tupou 15. Joe Wardle 16. Jack Stockwell 17. Jacob Saifiti 18. Trent Hodkinson 19. Tyler Randell 20. Josh King 21. Lachlan Fitzgibbon

Raiders team: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (C), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Luke Bateman. Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale, 15. Dunamis Lui, 16. Clay Priest, 17. Joe Tapine. Reserves: 18. Scott Sorensen, 19. Jordan Turner, 20. Dave Taylor, 21. Zac Santo