Matt Attard previews the round 20 clash between the Knights and Bulldogs. Here’s what we have to look forward to …
Newcastle Knights Vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Date: Sunday July 31, 2:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Brodie Jones 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Jack Johns 20. Jake Clifford 21. Dominic Young 22. Kurt Mann.
Kalyn Ponga (concussion) and Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder) are out, while the returning Kurt Mann and Dominic Young are listed on the extended bench.Embed from Getty Images
Bulldogs: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jackson Topine 12. Corey Waddell 13. Josh Jackson 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Tevita Pangai Junior 16. Joe Stimson 17. Chris Patolo 19. Declan Casey 20. Kurtis Morrin 21. Bailey Biondi-Odo 22. Harrison Edwards 23. Tuipulotu Katoa.
Corey Waddell copped a five-match ban for dangerous contact; NSW Cup player Harrison Edwards joins the squad.
Referee: Chris Butler.
A showdown at McDonald Jones Stadium will see both the Knights and Bulldogs fighting to climb away from the dreaded wooden spoon position.
Both are on 12 points but the Bulldogs have a far superior points differential. A win here could really take the Dogs out of spoon contention, not that it will be a main motivator for Mick Potter’s rejuvenated side.
The big news out of Newcastle this week has been the concussion drama surrounding Kalyn Ponga. He will miss the remainder of the season after copping another knock last weekend.
While Canterbury have had a great six weeks of football (scoring plenty of points), their defence has left a lot to be desired.
They thumped the Titans last weekend yet conceded 26 points, mostly from kicks, while they scored five tries against the Rabbitohs and still lost. It will be a key focus this weekend.
Newcastle have been in a slump, conceding 42 points in their last two starts and 40 in the week previous, so no doubt defence will also be a focus.
This week they’ve appointed Peter Parr to oversee their football department, which is a stroke of genius moving forward but will do little for their on-field performances this season.
Edrick Lee has proven a danger out wide and no doubt the recalled Jake Clifford, who has been on good form playing NSW Cup, will target the Bulldogs with plenty of kicks given their form defending last week.
Historically the Knights have performed well against the Bulldogs and have won their past three games against them, but there’s something about how the Bulldogs are playing at the back end of the year that should prove too much for a weakened Knights team.Embed from Getty Images
The Knights and Bulldogs have earned 10 wooden spoons between them since 1943: and seven in the NRL era.
Canterbury-Bankstown have six (1943, 1944, 1964, 2002, 2008, 2021), while Newcastle have four (2005, 2015, 2016, 2017). The Bulldogs won 20 games in 2002, but were stripped of 37 points for salary cap breaches and finished last.
Bulldogs by six.
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