The nib Newcastle Knights return home on Saturday evening to take on the Wests Tigers at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Going down in a hard-fought 26-16 loss to the Storm last Sunday, coach Adam O’Brien has named new recruit Blake Green to start in the halves, while Starford To'a has been named to make his first appearance for the season via the wing.
The Knights will start 1-17, while the Tigers have made a change with 250th game-man Chris Lawrence set to start and Sam McIntyre moving to the bench.
The Tigers made numerous changes including that of Luke Brooks who returns to the starting side from the bench, while Moses M'bye has made the swap from centre to dummy-half to replace Harry Grant. Alex Twal has also been omitted for Round 13.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v WESTS TIGERS
Date: Saturday, August 8
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
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If you can't catch the game on TV or radio, the Knights will be blogging the game at newcastleknights.com.au.
The Tigers have updated their squad, with Michael Maguire opting to cut Josh Reynolds and Elijah Taylor from their extended bench.
Meanwhile, Chris Randall and Mason Lino have dropped off the extended bench for Newcastle.
Both sides will be finalised one hour prior to kick off tomorrow night.
1. Adam Doueihi, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Joey Leilua, 4. Tommy Talau, 5. Ash Kepaoa, 6. Luke Brooks, 7. Benji Marshall, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Moses M'bye, 10. Russell Packer, 11. Luciano Leilua, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Matthew Eisenhuth, Interchange: 14. Thomas Mikaele, 15. Shawn Blore, 16. Chris Lawrence, 17. Billy Walters, 18. Alex Seyfarth, 19. Luke Garner.
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1, Kalyn Ponga, 2. Starford To'a, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Gehamat Shibasaki, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Blake Green, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Kurt Mann, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Mitch Barnett. Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Josh King, 16. Herman Ese'ese, 17. Brodie Jones, 19. Tex Hoy, 21. Jirah Momoisea.
THE RACE FOR THE EIGHT
With eight rounds remaining and just four points separating sixth and 10th on the premiership ladder, the Knights will need to play for 80 minutes to remain in the hunt for the finals.
Showing plenty of resilience under coach Adam O’Brien to confront injuries throughout matches, the side has struggled for consistency at times this season resulting in losses in their past two appearances at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Set to play the Tigers, Sea Eagles and Cowboys in Newcastle over the next three weeks, the Knights will be out to build consistency against teams all vying for a place in top eight
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With Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence set to celebrate their 250th appearances for the Wests Tigers on Saturday evening, the Knights will be out to make it a milestone to forget for the duo.
Going down to the joint venture in their past three visits to McDonald Jones Stadium, the Knights will be hoping to replicate the success enjoyed at Leichardt Oval pre-shutdown where they emerged 42-24 victors.
With the Knights sitting in seventh and the Tigers narrowly behind in 10th, Saturday’s match will be a must-win as both teams push for a place in the finals.
Joining the Knights with little fanfare over the off-season, Enari Tuala has been a quiet achiever throughout the backline.
Showing the versatility to play either side in the centres while stepping up on the wing when called upon, the 21-year-old Queenslander has crossed for five tries and averaged 105 metres per game.
Bagging a double when he faced off against the Tigers earlier this season, Tuala will be sure to give a good account of himself on Saturday as the Knights look to bounce back from back-to-back losses.
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
Mitchell Pearce has scored 15 tries in 21 matches against the Wests Tigers.
The Knights will be hoping to record multiple wins in the same season against the Tigers for the third time.
TIGERS STAT ATTACK
David Nofoaluma has scored four tries in his past two matches against the Knights.
The Tigers have won in Newcastle after losing the previous week nine times.
The 50-50 Charity Raffle is a not-for-profit fundraising product operated by the 50-50 Foundation.
50 percent of the prize pool raised at each fundraising raffle goes to one lucky ticket holder who is drawn at random during the event. The remaining 50 percent goes directly towards charitable purposes.
Our charity partner for the match is - Hunter Homeless Connect Inc