2024 NRL: Round 5 Preview, Knights Vs Dragons

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 5 clash between the Newcastle Knights and St George-Illawarra Dragons.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Newcastle Knights Vs St George-Illawarra Dragons
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Date: Friday 5 April, 8:00pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga, 2.Thomas Jenkins, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Enari Tuala, 6. Jack Cogger, 7. Jackson Hastings, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Leo Thompson, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Kai Pearce-Paul, 13. Adam Elliott, 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Daniel Saifiti, 16. Jack Hetherington, 17. Mathew Croker, 18. Dylan Lucas, 19. Jed Cartwright, 20. Brodie Jones, 21. Tyson Gamble, 22. Thomas Cant

Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan, 2.Zac Lomax, 3. Moses Suli, 4. Jack Bird, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Kyle Flanagan, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Jack de Belin, 11. Luciano Leilua, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Tom Eisenhuth, 14. Jesse Marschke, 15. Blake Lawrie, 16. Michael Molo, 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 18. Hame Sele, 19. Christian Tuipulotu, 20. Viliami Fifita, 21. Ryan Couchman, 22. Ben Murdoch-Masila

Referee: Belinda Sharpe

Embed from Getty Images

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

Steel cities collide on Friday night when the St George-Illawarra Dragons make the trip from Wollongong to Newcastle to face the Knights.

The Knights enter this match having experienced a clunky start to the 2024 season, losing their first two matches before holding off the Storm, only to suffer their third defeat in four starts against the Warriors on Easter Sunday.

The halves headache is still yet to be sorted, with Adam O’Brien switching the combination again, this time recalling Jackson Hastings after two weeks in NSW Cup and moving Jack Cogger to five-eighth, with Tyson Gamble dropped.

The Dragons head into this match following a 20-12 win in a low-quality match against Manly in a good return to defensive form, having conceded 84 points in their two losses against the Dolphins and Cowboys.

In addition to the change in the halves, the Knights are boosted by the returns of Dane Gagai and Leo Thompson, forcing Daniel Saifiti to the bench and Dylan Lucas to 18th man. Jayden Brailey has also been named to start at hooker for the first time in 2024, with Phoenix Crossland dropping back to the bench.

Shane Flanagan has made only one change to his 17, with Michael Molo joining the bench and pushing Hame Sele to 18th man. Jack de Belin has been named to start with Blake Lawrie dropping back to the bench, while Tom Eisenhuth has been named to start at lock, however, may start from the bench as he has in past two matches.

The Dragons have dominated matches between the two sides, winning 29 of their 43 overall meetings, including 18 of the 23 at McDonald Jones Stadium. The Knights have won three of the past five matches, scoring more than 30 points in each of the wins.

The Knights haven’t won a match off a five-day turnaround since 2021. They haven’t lost the week after a game in New Zealand since 2016, winning four straight. The Dragons haven’t won an away game in New South Wales since round 24, 2022 and haven’t won two consecutive matches in a season since round 25, 2022.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Round 5 Number Crunch.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Knights by 8 points.

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