2023 NRL Preview Round 24: Knights Vs Bulldogs

The surging Newcastle Knights will look to maintain their new spot in the top 8 when they take on a Bulldogs outfit looking to get back some of their bite.



Newcastle Knights Vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Date: Sunday August 13, 4:05pm


Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Brodie Jones 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Dylan Lucas 19. Hymel Hunt 20. Simi Sasagi 21. Jack Johns 22. Daniel Saifiti

Bulldogs: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Toby Sexton 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Tevita Pangai Junior 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Jacob Preston 13. Ryan Sutton 14. Kyle Flanagan 15. Luke Thompson 16. Liam Knight17. Corey Waddell 19. Harrison Edwards 20. Kurtis Morrin 21. Jayden Okunbor 22. Hayze Perham 23. Sam Hughes

Referee: Peter Gough

Embed from Getty Images


Looking for six on the bounce, the Newcastle Knights have charged into the top eight after overcoming a double-digit second-half deficit against the Dolphins last round.

With four rounds remaining in the regular season, they are only a win away from 11th placed Manly on the ladder, so every win will be crucial.

They head back home to tackle the Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon to start a trio of home game matchups that should only help their premiership charge. In round 18 the Knights thumped the Bulldogs a mammoth 66-0 in their last matchup, inflicting one of the worst defeats of the season in the competition so far. Not much has changed for the Knights in those six weeks, with star fullback Kalyn Ponga still leading the Novocastrian resurgence.

Whilst the Knights only scraped past a pesky Dolphins last week, Ponga again was instrumental. He finished the match with 1 try, 2 line breaks and 2 try assists in another fine attacking display. Having scored a try in five of his last six games and having at least a try assist in each one, Ponga has all the momentum of a runaway freight train and it’s doubtful that stops for the Bulldogs.

The rest of the Knights backline has also been firing and notably both wingers in Greg Marzhew and Dom Young are among the league’s best try scorers the last two months of football. The only thing the Knights don’t have going for them is the absence of in form centre and 2023 NSW Blues State of Origin representative, Bradman Best.

The Dogs however come into this week at the very least, rested coming off their third bye as they look to write the wrongs of the drubbing at the hands of Newcastle six weeks ago. Only one change from their team that won a 23-22 nailbiter against the Dolphins in Bundaberg last time out, with Luke Thompson finally on the park for his first NRL appearance of 2023, replacing Harrison Edwards.

The Bulldogs will find some confidence in the fact this is one of their strongest line-ups they’ve been able to field in 2023. The return of the running cement truck Viliame Kikau has given the pack some punch, whilst the late season signing of half Toby Sexton has provided some class and direction. It will still be a very tough ask to come away with victory from Newcastle.

It’s imperative the Knights finish the round strongly given a loss could drop them to as low as 10th. It does seem the outcome is unlikely to finish the same as it did in round 18 and the Knights will need to be careful, they don’t fall into a dogfight here or it could be a short lived top 8 cameo.


Knights 5, Bulldogs 5


Knights by 14 points.

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