The nib Newcastle Knights head to Tamworth on Saturday afternoon to take on the Warriors at Scully Park.
Getting the job done 12-0 against the Cowboys last week, Mason Lino comes into the side following Blake Green’s season-ending knee injury.
Tex Hoy and Jirah Momoisea drop off the extended bench, while the Warriors have also made changes.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Date: Saturday, August 29
Venue: Scully Park, Tamworth
FOLLOW THE ACTION
If you can't catch the game on TV or radio, the Knights will be blogging the game at newcastleknights.com.au.
Watch: Special delivery for Tamworth
The Warriors will be 1-17 according to the team named on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Adam O'Brien has opted to rest young gun Phoenix Crossland, with Chris Randall taking his place on the bench.
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Starford To'a, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Gehamat Shibasaki, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Mason Lino, 7. Mitchell Pearce (c), 8. David Klemmer, 9. Kurt Mann, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Mitch Barnett. Interchange: 19. Chris Randall, 15. Herman Ese'ese, 16. Josh King, 17. Pasami Saulo.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2. Adam Pompey, 3. Hayze Perham, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. George Jennings, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Karl Lawton, 10. Lachlan Burr, 11. Eliesa Katoa, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Jazz Tevaga. Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan, 15. Adam Blair, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Jack Murchie.
BACK TO THE BUSH
Originally set to face the Warriors at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the Knights will instead travel to North West NSW for the Round 16 clash.
With the Warriors electing to transfer the match to Tamworth in recognition of their time in the NSW regional centre during COVID-19 quarantine, the Knights will be out to make Tamworth a ‘home away from home’ having held a pre-season camp in the town last year.
The match will have an air of significance for the Knights as well, who built their season off the back of an intense six-day training camp in the city late last year. The camp included a day spent assisting drought-stricken farmers throughout the region, as well as a community clinic attended by hundreds of local fans.
Returning to Scully Park to play a first grade match for the second time, many of the Knights’ players will have fond memories of the ground after securing a 22-20 victory over the Tigers in 2018 - courtesy of a last-gasp try from winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
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While the Knights’ starting front-rowers have gained plenty of plaudits this season, the side’s impact men have made a mark off the bench in recent weeks.
Rising to the challenge of playing the second half with a two-man bench last Sunday, Herman Ese’ese (119 metres and 26 tackles), Josh King (74 metres and 11 tackles) and Pasami Saulo (64 metres and 11 tackles) all stepped up to help the side win three in a row for the first time in 2020.
Coming up against a Warriors team on the verge of the top eight following three wins over the past four weeks, coach Adam O’Brien will be looking for his bench to pack plenty of punch in Tamworth.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Becoming the latest Newcastle player to celebrate a milestone in recent weeks, front-rower David Klemmer will bring up his 150th appearance in first grade on Saturday afternoon.
Spending six seasons with the Bulldogs before heading to the Hunter at the start of 2019, the New South Wales and Australian representative has gone on to establish a reputation as one of the game’s premier enforcers.
Leading the way up front with 2,727 metres, 1,112 post-contact metres, 18 tackle breaks and 40 offloads so far in 2020, Klemmer will be hoping to celebrate his latest milestone with a win after losing his debut, 50th and 100th matches.
Klem: 150 games, Tamworth bond, Green loss
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
The Knights are chasing multiple wins over the Warriors in the same season for the first time since 2003.
Hymel Hunt is looking to become the first Newcastle winger since James McManus in 2013 to score in four consecutive matches.
WARRIORS STAT ATTACK
This is the first time the Warriors have faced the Knights in an NRL match outside of Newcastle or Auckland.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck leads the NRL in running metres with 3,076 - an average of 219 per game.