It’s a massive clash.
A blockbuster. The nib Newcastle Knights kicking off the 2019 season at home against Cronulla.
While the match itself should be a cracker, there’s plenty of mouth-watering match-ups inside the game.
The personal battles are juicy.
On Friday night, we will witness the two enforcers facing off when David Klemmer and Andrew Fifita collide.
In the halves, it’s the battle of the generals with Mitchell Pearce and Chad Townsend steering the ship, while the playmakers Matt Moylan and Connor Watson move to the No.1 role.
Here’s how these head-to-heads stack up.
DAVID KLEMMER V ANDREW FIFITA
Last year, Fifita was a model of consistency but so too was Klemmer.
Fifita clocked 1128.1 post-contact metres in 2018, while Klemmer registered a whopping 1650.2
The Sharks prop ran for 3517 metres last year but Klemmer made 3982 while playing for Canterbury.
Unfortunately, Klemmer didn’t make a line break last year and Fifita made four.
He also set up three tries.
On the defensive front, there’s not much splitting them.
Fiifta finished the season with a tackle effective rate of 92.9, while Klemmer’s percentage was 92.2.
CONNOR WATSON V MATT MOYLAN
Both men played in the halves last season but will move into the No.1 in 2019.
At fullback, both men can expect to do a lot of running but it’s something Watson is used to.
Last year he averaged 106.2 running metres, while Moylan averaged 84.4.
Watson also has the edge when it comes to line breaks with a 0.7 average verses 0.3 and tackle breaks 3.5 to 2.4.
When it comes to tackling, Watson is a standout.
The former Rooster has an effective tackle percentage of 83.5, while Moylan is 76.6.
The Shark does have Watson on the assistance front.
Moylan averaged 0.7 try assists to Watson’s 0.3 in 2018.
He also averaged higher in line break assists with 0.7 to 0.3.
MITCHELL PEARCE V CHAD TOWNSEND
The Knights skipper is a kicking magician.
He averaged 413.1 kicking metres last year, while Townsend had 280.
They both averaged 0.6 forced drop-outs per game but Pearce averaged 2 long kicks finding space verses Townsend’s 0.8 kicks per game.
When it comes to try assists, Pearce averaged 0.9 tries per game, while Townsend had 0.5.
Pearce touches the ball a whole lot more too.
He averaged 59.9 touches per game, while the Sharks No.7 has 48.7.
Defensively, the Knights leader comes out on top with an effective tackle percentage of 81.9 and Townsend finished 2018 with 77.6.