The nib Newcastle Knights hit the road for the first time in 2019 taking on the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
Centre Hymel Hunt will make his 50th NRL appearance after making his first grade debut back in 2013.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v CANBERRA RAIDERS
Date: Friday March 29
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
14. Kurt Mann, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Hymel Hunt, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Kalyn Ponga, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Danny Levi, 10. James Gavet, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Sione Mata'utia, 13. Tim Glasby, Interchange: 20. Jamie Buhrer, 15. Aidan Guerra, 16. Mitch Barnett, 17. Herman Ese'ese, 18. Josh King, 21. Brodie Jones
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (C), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 18. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (C), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Hudson Young, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Corey Horsburgh, 19. JJ Collins, 20. Bailey Simonsson
BAD TIMES IN THE NATION’S CAPITAL
Holding a poor record in Canberra with six wins, 18 losses and a draw, the Knights will be hoping to replicate their last visit to GIO Stadium where a Sione Mata’utia try with six minutes remaining gave the visitors a 30-28 victory.
Enduring a number of high-scoring losses in the nation’s capital over the years, highlighted by 11 occasions where the green machine have posted six tries or more in a match, recent history fares slightly better for the Knights during the 2010s with four wins from nine appearances at the venue.
With both sides eager to start the year in winning form after missing the finals in 2018, the Knights will need to go to another level on Friday night in order to combat the hostile crowd and record back-to-back wins in the ACT for only the second time in history.
POINTS A PLENTY
Matches between the Knights and Raiders are known for being high scoring.
Claiming the record for the most points scored in a premiership match when a 30-point haul from Andrew Johns saw Newcastle run out 70-32 winners in 2006, the visiting Knights will need to flex their attacking muscles if history is a sign of things to come.
With the average winning score being over 30 points whenever the two sides have met in Canberra this decade.
EITHER SIDE OF HALFTIME
Having conceded points in the five minutes either side of halftime in more than half of their matches last year, the Knights will need to maintain their defensive resolve for the full 80 minutes to come away with two competition points.
Facing off against a Raiders side capable of taking a mile when given an inch, look for the Knights to make amends on Friday night following the harsh lessons of last week.
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
Edrick Lee will be looking to continue to his strong try-scoring form on Friday night as he eyes off his 50th try in first grade.
Facing off against the side he debuted with back in 2012, the 26-year-old speedster has been among the Knights’ best performers over the opening fortnight.
Averaging over 100 metres per game and making a huge impact with his defence, expect the Knights number five to relish his personal duel opposite former teammate Jordan Rapana.
RAIDERS STAT ATTACK
The Raiders have averaged a 75% completion rate from their first two matches, however they missed 41 tackles against Melbourne last Friday.
Knights v Mounties at Aubrey Keech Reserve, 3.00pm Saturday.
Knights v Raiders at GIO Stadium, 3.45pm Friday.