The nib Newcastle Knights take on arch-rivals the Manly Sea Eagles for the Malcolm Reilly Cup at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening.
Winning premierships as a player at Manly and coaching Newcastle to victory in their first grand final in 1997, Reilly stands as an icon of both clubs and the sport of rugby league across both hemispheres.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v MANLY SEA EAGLES
Date: Saturday, April 13
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Sea Eagles: 31
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Hymel Hunt, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Mason Lino, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Danny Levi, 10. James Gavet, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Sione Mata'utia, 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann, 15. Aidan Guerra, 16. Daniel Saifiti, 17. Mitch Barnett, 18. Josh King, 19. Connor Watson, 20. Herman Ese'ese, 21. Tautau Moga.
1. Brendan Elliot, 2. Jorge Taufua, 3. Moses suli, 4. Brad Parker, 5. Reuben Garrick, 6. Kane Elgey, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. Martin Taupau, 11. Joel Thompson, 12.Curtis Sironen, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Manase Fainu, 15. Jack Gosiewski, 16. Corey Waddell, 17. Toafofoa Sipley, 18. Trent Hodkinson, 19. Lachlan Croker, 20. Kelepi Tanginoa, 21. Taniela Paseka
THE GREATEST RIVALRY
Of all the teams the Knights have clashed with over the years, the rivalry against the Sea Eagles stands above all others.
Beginning in Newcastle’s foundation season when a team of unknowns knocked off the reigning premiers in a trial, the battles between the pair have made for rugby league at its finest.
There have been plenty of highlights over the past three decades, but above all else the 1997 grand final will live forever as a result of Andrew Johns opting to dummy-and-run with seconds remaining to send Darren Albert over - handing Newcastle their first premiership in the process.
KLEMMER V TAUPAU
Just as the forward battles between Paul “The Chief” Harragon and Mark “Spud” Carroll produced countless iconic moments in the past, the showdown between David Klemmer and Martin Taupau looms as a major attraction on Saturday night.
Leading the NRL for running metres by a forward and post-contact metres by any player, Klemmer has quickly become a fan favourite in Newcastle, while in a side that has surprised many in 2019, Taupau has been as formidable as ever reuniting with Des Hasler.
Coming through the grades together at Canterbury, the duo have proven themselves to be two of the fiercest competitors at club and international levels by instilling opponents with a sense of dread every time they take the field.
VOICE FOR MINING
For the sixth straight year Newcastle will swap red and blue for hi-vis orange as part of the annual Voice for Mining Family Day.
Acknowledging the role played by mining workers and families across New South Wales, the hi-vis jersey has seen the Knights produce several iconic moments including their only win of 2016 against the Tigers and Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s match-winner last season courtesy of Jamie Buhrer’s inspired cross-field kick.
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
Of the 22 NRL meetings against the Sea Eagles at McDonald Jones Stadium, the Knights have won on 13 occasions, including six of the past eight since 2006.
SEA EAGLES STAT ATTACK
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will play his 200th first grade game on Saturday evening.
Knights v Blacktown Workers at McDonald Jones Stadium, 12.45pm Saturday.
Knights v Sea Eagles at McDonald Jones Stadium, 3.05pm Saturday.