The nib Newcastle Knights travel to Cbus Super Stadium on Easter Sunday to take on the Gold Coast Titans.
Looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing 26-18 loss to Manly, Herman Ese'ese returns to the NRL side in place of injured second-rower Aidan Guerra.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v GOLD COAST TITANS
Date: Sunday, April 21
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium
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. Mitch Barnett, 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 14. Connor Watson, 15. Herman Ese'ese, 16. Daniel Saifiti, 17. Josh King, 18. Sione Mata'utia, 19. Jamie Buhrer, 20. Brodie Jones, 21. Tautau Moga
1. Michael Gordon, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Tyrone Peachey, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Dale Copley, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ash Taylor, 8. Shannon Boyd, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Ryan James, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Bryce Cartwright, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Phillip Sami, 15. Keegan Hipgrave, 16. Max King, 17. Jai Whitbread, 18. Moeaki Fotuaika, 19. Jack Stockwell, 20. Jesse Arthars, 21. Ryley Jacks
Gold Coast may be the youngest team in the NRL, but over a short period of time the Knights have contested some memorable battles against the Titans.
Coming from 14 points behind to down the Queensland club 30-24 last July, the Knights also produced an iconic victory two years ago to break a run of 19 consecutive losses in Newcastle.
Tied on four wins apiece at Cbus Super Stadium, coach Nathan Brown will be eyeing off his first win on the Gold Coast having lost all three previous visits during his tenure with the Knights.
Winning one match over the opening five rounds respectively, both sides will be hoping to resurrect their fledgling seasons with a much-needed win over the holiday weekend.
Stunned in the opening quarter by the Sea Eagles last Saturday, the Knights will be aware of the importance of starting well against the Titans, as they look to win over Easter for the first time since 2013.
Despite the Knights 12th-placed standing on the premiership ladder, plenty of players have stood up in 2019.
Averaging 40 tackles per game Danny Levi has revelled in the number nine jersey, new signing Edrick Lee has scored four tries and provided great support with over 100 metres each week, while Jesse Ramien ranks third in the league with 28 tackle breaks.
Holding the fourth best defence in the NRL with 80 points conceded across five matches, opposition teams won’t be taking Newcastle lightly over the coming weeks, especially given Nathan Brown’s record of turning poor starts into successful seasons after taking St George Illawarra to the finals in 2005 and 2008 following 1/6 starts.
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
The Knights have lost their past eight matches in Queensland with their last win coming in Round 3, 2015 against the Titans.
TITANS STAT ATTACK
The Titans have made 62 errors and conceded an average of 23 points per game over the first five rounds.
Knights v Bears at North Sydney Oval, 3.00pm Friday.
Knights v Bears at North Sydney Oval, 1.15pm Friday.