Elinya Chenery previews the Thursday night clash between the Knights and the Broncos.
Newcastle Knights Vs Brisbane Broncos
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Date: Thursday May 19, 7:50pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mitch Barnett 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Leo Thompson 17. Mat Croker 18. Tex Hoy 19. Simi Sasagi 20. Dane Gagai 21. Jake Clifford 22. Sauaso Sue 23. Pasami Saulo 24. Brodie Jones
Anthony Milford slots into the side at five-eighth after having his contract approved by the NRL. Tyson Frizell returns from injury to take his place in the second-row, with Leo Thompson shifting back to the interchange bench. Jake Clifford, Dane Gagai and Brodie Jones are also a chance to return after being named in the extended squad.Embed from Getty Images
Broncos: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Kobe Hetherington 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Keenan Palasia 18. Brenko Lee 19. TC Robati 20. Rhys Kennedy 21. Ezra Mam 22. Jordan Pereira 23. Ryan James 24. David Mead
The Broncos remain unchanged through their extended squad from the team that secured an historic victory against Manly last week, Te Maire Martin has overcome any injury concerns (hip) to take his place at fullback.
Referee: Adam Gee
It has been a quarter of a century since both the Knights and Broncos won titles in the Australian Rugby League and Super League competitions respectively, in the only year that both competitions were run adjacently. Following this, the Knights have only won the premiership once more in 2001, while the Broncos have claimed victory in 1998, 2000 and 2006.
The rivalry between these two clubs has been immense, with the teams meeting 39 times for 1 draw, 23 wins to the Brisbane outfit and only 15 victories for the Novocastrians, with both teams struggling for success in recent years.
Both the Knights and the Broncos come into this clash off Magic Round victories, although their form heading into the game could not be more different.
While the Knights produced a scrappy 16-6 win against the Bulldogs in order to end a seven-game losing streak, the Broncos decimated the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 38-0 to head into this match on a hot streak with four wins on the trot.
All eyes will be on Newcastle’s 5th halves pairing of the year, in particular on Anthony Milford, who will take to the NRL field for the first time in season 2022. Lining up against the last club that he actively played for, as he never took to the field as a Rabbitoh despite being contracted to them in late 2021 with the NRL refusing to register said contract, it is safe to assume Milford will be out to make an impression in front of the Newcastle faithful at his new home ground.
Placed 15th at the end of last season, Adam Reynolds has breathed new life into a once struggling Broncos team and will make for an interesting match-up between him and Adam Clune of Newcastle – as well as the men partnering them at 6, Tyson Gamble and Anthony Milford respectively.
Make sure to watch out for the battle of the props, with both Daniel Saifiti and Payne Haas wearing the number 10 on their backs, the NSW incumbents will be looking to consolidate their positions in this years’ Blues squad.
Newcastle must be cautious of not focussing too heavily on shutting down Reynolds at the cost of creating attacking options, or risk lacking the polish they need to get over the line. It will be a battle of the wingers in the air, with Lee, Young, Cobbo and Oates all masters of taking the high ball, be prepared for numerous kicks towards the corners.
The Broncos biggest ever victory and Newcastle’s biggest ever loss was in 2007, where the Brisbane team took down the Knights by a margin of 65 points, with the final score standing at 71-6.
Broncos by 4.
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