The Knights are finally back at home after a marathon away trip that saw them play in Auckland and Melbourne.
It’s the Voice for Mining Family Day at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, and the team will be decked out in their high-vis kit for the fourth year running to take on the Wests Tigers.
The performance against the Melbourne Storm last weekend was promising, with the red and blues leading for the majority of the game. They were unable to close out the game though, and that will be key to preparations in Round 6.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v WESTS TIGERS
Date: Sunday April 10
Gates open: 11.15am
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Broadcast: Channel Nine
1. Dane Gagai, 2. Nathan Ross, 3. Sione Mata’utia*, 4. Pat Mata’utia, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Jarrod Mullen, 7. Trent Hodkinson (c), 8. Sam Mataora, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Korbin Sims, 11. Tariq Sims (c), 12. Robbie Rochow*, 13. Jeremy Smith (c). Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell, 15. Jack Stockwell, 16. Jacob Saifiti, 17. Pauli Pauli, 18. Daniel Saifiti, 19. Mickey Paea.
*Rochow was injured at training on Thursday while Sione Mata'utia has also been ruled out of Sunday's match.
1. James Tedesco, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Tim Simona, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 5. Jordan Rankin, 6. Mitchell Moses, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Tim Grant, 11. Dene Halatau, 12. Chris Lawrence, 13. Sauaso Sue. Interchange: 14. Curtis Sironen, 15. Ava Seumanufagai, 16. Josh Aloiai, 17. Kyle Lovett.
Tariq Sims returns
Joint-captain Sims is set to play his first game of 2016 after serving a five-week suspension and he’s desperate for a win.
His competitiveness and leadership will be a major boost for the team when they take to the field.
“I’m itching to get back out there and rumble it up with the boys,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“I’m going to try to bring as much controlled aggression as I can towards the Tigers.”
Jack Stockwell building up steam
Stockwell played his first NRL premiership match since May of last year when he came off the bench against the Melbourne Storm last weekend.
The big forward certainly looked keen to make up for lost time, making 88 metres from 10 runs and 31 tackles in defence.
His no-nonsense game will be required against a tough Tigers pack led by NSW representative Aaron Woods.
“We will have to stop that momentum they have in the forwards and nullify their attacking weapons,” Stockwell said on Tuesday.
“Coming up against Woods, he’s a benchmark player and is an Origin front rower, so it’s always good to test where my game is at coming up against the likes of him.”
Celebrating the mining industry
The Knights will host their fourth annual Voice for Mining Family Day on Sunday, and the first 4000 people through the gates will receive a commemorative NSW Mining high-vis vest to wear.
The crowd that cheered the Knights on in their first home game of the season was impressive, and it will be a sight to behold this weekend when the stands are awash with high-vis.
It is always a proud occasion for the Knights, and is a great opportunity to celebrate the deep history that the Club and the mining industry shares.
"It’s great to see so many mining families supporting us and that’s why we want to support the Hunter Valley mining industry,” David Bhana said during a visit to Glencore mine on Monday.
Tedesco top try-scorer
Tigers fullback James Tedesco is the leading try-scorer in the NRL this season with seven four-pointers.
The NSW hopeful averages more than 140 metres per game and the Knights’ ability to limit his influence will be critical.
“With players like him and Johnathon Thurston, you can’t really stop them. You have to limit their opportunities to attack you,” Jarrod Mullen said on Thursday.
“If Tedesco is bringing the ball out of their end and is not running at our line, then that’s going to nullify their attack.”
THE FINAL SAY
“We shot ourselves in the foot last week giving away a few penalties and letting them out of their half,” Dane Gagai said of the match against the Storm.
“If we can get those errors out of our game I think we will have a really good chance.”