Jem Nash previews the round 14 match between the Newcastle Knights and Penrith Panthers at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Newcastle Knights Vs Penrith Panthers
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Date: Sunday June 12, 4:05pm AEST
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Jake Clifford 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mitchell Barnett 14. Kurt Mann 15. Simi Sasagi 16. Leo Thompson 17. Mat Croker 18. Pasami Saulo 19. Jirah Momoisea 20. Tex Hoy 21. Jack Johns 22. Phoenix Crossland
Kurt Mann has been named on the bench, returning from injury in his first game since round seven, pushing Phoenix Crossland back to the reserves. Jacob Saifiti replaces his injured brother Daniel in the starting side while Leo Thompson comes onto the bench. Kalyn Ponga and Dane Gagai have both been named to back up from Origin.Embed from Getty Images
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Robert Jennings 19. Chris Smith 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. J’maine Hopgood 22. Spencer Leniu 23. Charlie Staines 24. Kurt Falls
Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo and Brian To’o have all seemed to come through Origin unscathed so are good bets to back up on Sunday, with the Panthers naming an extended reserves list if anyone is rested. Matthew Eisenhuth has earned a spot on the bench in place of Spencer Leniu.
Referee: Ben Cummins
The Knights were able to chalk up their fourth win of the season in their last match two weeks ago against the Warriors, while the Panthers didn’t have it all easy last week but managed a 12-point win over the Bulldogs without their Origin stars.
Both teams are expected to have their Origin players back up, but the Knights copped an injury blow last week losing Daniel Saifiti to a knee injury. Jacob Saifiti has been moved to the starting side, setting up a mouth-watering battle with James Fisher-Harris in the front row. Saifiti will enter this clash with plenty of confidence after earning selection in the NSW squad, while Fisher-Harris is coming off a mammoth effort in last week’s week, running for over 200 metres and making 44 tackles with no misses. With players backing up from Origin from both sides, whoever wins this key battle will go a long way to determining the outcome of this match.
It’s been completely different seasons for these two sides, and even if the Panthers don’t have all their Origin players backing up, they still enter this clash as heavy favourites.Embed from Getty Images
The Panthers have dominated the recent history between these two sides, winning seven of their past nine matches, with one draw.
Panthers by 14
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