Enjoying a solid start to the season, the Knights face their toughest face their toughest test against the red hot Panthers.
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Knights: 1. Lachlan Miller 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. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mat Croker Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Jack Hetherington 16. Jack Johns 17. Brodie Jones Reserves: 18. Enari Tuala 19. Dylan Lucas 20. Simi Sasagi 21. Hymel Hunt 22. Ryan Rivett
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Matthew Eisenhuth 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Zac Hosking 13. Isaah Yeo Interchange: 14. Soni Luke 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon Reserves: 18. Tyrone Peachey 19. Jack Cogger 20. Liam Martin 21. Luke Garner 22. Tom Jenkins
Referee: Peter GoughEmbed from Getty Images
The Panthers have been back to their devastating best over the past fortnight, outscoring their opponents 97-24 in big wins over the Sea Eagles and Raiders. The Knights sit just one point behind Penrith on the ladder, and are coming off a strong win over the Warriors last week.
Newcastle will miss the services of Jayden Brailey who has unfortunately suffered a season-ending ACL injury, with Phoenix Crossland set to start at dummy half. However, Tyson Gamble returns at five-eighth in a boost for the side. The Panthers are unchanged from last week, with Liam Martin a chance to return after being named on the extended bench. Garner has also been named in the reserves, but it will be tough for him to take Zac Hosking’s spot who has been in some great form since coming into the team.
It was the usual suspects for the defending premiers last week, with Nathan Cleary adding two try assists and Dylan Edwards crossing the line four times. It was a poor defensive performance from their opponents but the Panthers made sure to punish every mistake the Sea Eagles made.
The Knights are much improved from a season ago, but this contest against Penrith will show where they are truly at. The loss of Brailey will sting but Gamble will provide a big boost. Newcastle will need to overcome a poor home record against their opponents, having not beaten the Panthers in the last five starts at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The pressure will be on the likes of Gamble and Jackson Hastings to create points against the best defensive side in the competition.
LAST TEN MATCHES
Panthers 8, Knights 1, Drawn 1
Panthers by 14 points.
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