NRL match preview: Round 22

For the first time since May, the nib Newcastle Knights have back-to-back home games.

After a morale-boosting victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend, the red and blues take on the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday.

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Date: Saturday August 5
Gates open: 12.30pm
Kick-off: 3pm
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium

HEAD-TO-HEAD
Played: 37
Knights: 17
Warriors: 19
Drawn: 1

SQUADS

Knights
1. Nathan Ross, 2. Ken Sio, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Peter Mata’utia, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Jamie Buhrer, 10. Josh King, 11. Sione Mata’utia, 12. Joe Wardle, 13. Mitch Barnett. Interchange: 14. Danny Levi, 15. Luke Yates, 16. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 17. Jacob Saifiti, 18. Jack Cogger, 19. Sam Stone, 20. Brendan Elliot, 21. Chanel Mata’utia.

Warriors
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Blake Ayshford, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Mason Lino, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Isaiah Papali’i, 12. Bunty Afoa, 13. Simon Mannering. Interchange: 14. Mafoa’aeata Hingano, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Ligi Sao, 17. James Bell, 18. Jazz Tevaga, 19. Chris Satae, 20. Nathaniel Roache, 21. James Bell.

TALKING POINTS
 
Happy camp

Coach Nathan Brown has gone with an unchanged 17 this week after a scrappy yet gutsy win over the Red V.

There has been a noticeable lift in mood at training as well, as the team savours that winning feeling.

“Everyone was a lot more positive at training this week, the video session was a bit better and everyone’s energy was up,” Luke Yates said.

Crowd credit

Knights fans have yet again outdone themselves this season, averaging the fourth largest crowds in the competition.

It’s something that rubs off on the players, and all three of the team’s wins this season have come at home.

“To see them supporting us through a tough time and to reward them with a win was pretty special for us and them,” Brock Lamb said of last weekend.

“It was an ugly win but it was just special to be out there and win with the fans.”

With only three home games left this season, fans are encouraged to come along this weekend for what is forecast to be another sunny afternoon at McDonald Jones Stadium.