2023 NRL Preview Round 13: Knights Vs Sea Eagles

A struggling Newcastle Knights take on the form-finding Manly Warringah Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon.



Newcastle Knights Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Date: Sunday May 28th, 4:05pm


Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Jack Johns 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Lachlan Miller 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Dylan Lucas 19. Enari Tuala 20. Brodie Jones 21. Adam Clune 22. Kurt Mann

Sea Eagles: 1. Kaeo Weekes 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Josh Schuster 7. Cooper Johns 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Samuela Fainu 13. Sean Keppie 14. Christian Tuipulotu 15. Karl Lawton 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Ben Condon 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Dean Matterson 21. Gordon Chan Kum Tong 22. Morgan Harper.

Referee: Peter Gough

Embed from Getty Images


It’s always a big event when these two teams meet. Who could forget the iconic 1997 ARL Grand Final, Mitch Pearce kicking the winning field goal against Manly in his first game as a Knight back in 2018, or even the last time these two sides met – finishing after 90 minutes at a 32-all draw?

Coming into the match on Sunday it’s heading into must-win territory for the home side to keep their season alive, with the Knights going down to the Sharks last week, whilst the Sea Eagles are looking to build on their demolition of the Raiders last week and surge into the top eight.

With both teams benefitting from a bye in the next round of the season, the chief playmakers in both sides will be looking to lead their teams into the week off with a victory under their belt. It’s hard to go past the match-up between the fullbacks, with Kalyn Ponga seeking to prove he was unfairly snubbed of his Origin position and youngster Kaeo Weekes attempting to make his mark in first grade and solidify himself in the Sea Eagles squad. As it was last time these two sides met, another match-up to look forward to is the battle of the Johns brothers, Cooper and Jack. Sons of Newcastle legend Matthew Johns, the two boys have spoken about enjoying playing against the other and trying to one up each other, and this attitude should be expected to continue going into Sunday’s clash.

For Newcastle, Tyson Frizell is replaced by Adam Elliott due to his absence for State of Origin. Lachlan Miller has been moved to the interchange bench with Ponga back at fullback and Tyson Gamble covering his spot in the halves. For Manly, Weekes and Cooper Johns come into the starting side for Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans as they undertake State of Origin duties. New recruit Jakob Arthur is on the extended bench with a chance to make his club debut.

The last time these two sides met in Round 5 not even 90 minutes could separate them, with scores level at 32-all and leaving both teams with one point. It was a see-sawing affair down in Mudgee some eight weeks ago, as it often is when these two sides play: and with both sides becoming increasingly desperate for points throughout this Origin period, the same can be expected from Sunday’s match up.


Manly 4, Knights 5, Drawn 1


Manly by four points.

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