The nib Newcastle Knights take on the Cronulla Sharks in a top eight clash at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday evening.
Coming off a 36-6 decimation at the hands of the Warriors, Adam O'Brien's men will be out to make amends as the 2020 season begins to turn for the run home.
Sione Katoa has been ruled out for the Sharks, with Bryson Goodwin coming onto the wing.
Andrew Fiifta has dropped off their extended bench.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v CRONULLA SHARKS
Date: Friday, September 4
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
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.
Both teams have been confirmed for tonights game.
The Sharks have opted to make some changes, with Sione Katoa ruled out of the game.
Bryson Goodwin takes his place on the wing, while Scott Sorensen has also been drafted into the side at lock, forcing Toby Rudolf to the bench.
Meanwhile, the Knights are 1-17.
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: 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Herman Ese'ese, 16. Josh King, 17. Brodie Jones.
1. William Kennedy, 19. Bryson Goodwin, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Braydon Trindall, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 15. Scott Sorensen. Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey, 13. Toby Rudolf, 16 Siosifa Talakai, 17. Royce Hunt.
In a clash pitting the seventh-placed Knights against the eighth-placed Sharks, both sides will be treating the match as a chance to build momentum heading towards the finals.
Winning three of their past four matches leading into Friday night, the clash will be the first time the Knights have faced the Sharks since the opening round of last season, where a length-of-the-field intercept from Edrick Lee saw the home side prevail 14-8.
Sitting one point above their opponents on the premiership ladder, the Knights will be determined to defy recent history after winning just one of their past nine clashes against the Sharks.
A MANN FOR ALL SEASONS
Kurt Mann has shrugged off the “Mr Fix-It” tag to emerge as one of the side’s top performers in 2020.
Beginning the year in the number six jersey before putting his hand up to play hooker following season-ending injuries to Jayden Brailey, Andrew McCullough and Connor Watson, the 27-year-old Queenslander has enjoyed a career-best campaign with six tries, six try-assists and an average of 29 tackles per game.
Set to mark up against Blayke Brailey - brother of injured Newcastle dummy half Jayden Brailey - Mann shapes as a game-breaker for the Knights as they look to post back-to-back wins over the Sharks for the first time since 2014.
LESSONS FROM LAST WEEK
Coming off a disappointing performance on the road last Saturday, the Knights will be out to make amends on home soil.
Producing an uncharacteristically high number of errors and penalties in the 30-point loss to the Warriors, coach Adam O’Brien will be stressing the importance of locking up the ball after conceding 19 offloads last Saturday - the most conceded by the side this season.
With only two Newcastle forwards running for over 100 metres in Tamworth, look for the Knights’ big men to have a point to prove against the likes of Aaron Woods, Andrew Fifita and Braden Hamlin-Uele.
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
Joey's Rd16 Review: Poor discipline, defensive lapses and Sharks fix
This is the first time in more than a year the Knights have played a Friday night match.
Kalyn Ponga is kicking at 66 per cent this season with 43 goals from 65 attempts.
SHARKS STAT ATTACK
The Sharks have won five of their past seven visits to McDonald Jones Stadium.
Josh Dugan will play his 50th match for the Sharks.
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 - Lifeline