The nib Newcastle Knights take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the traditional Old Boys Day fixture.
Outclassed by the Roosters 42-12 last Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Knights will welcome back rested trio Kalyn Ponga, Hymel Hunt and Mitchell Barnett but Tex Hoy and Edrick Lee have been ruled out.
Meanwhile, the Dragons have made several changes.
Euan Aitken and Adam Clune (both hamstring) are out. Brayden Wiliame returns to play for the first time since Round 4, while Tariq Sims will start in a reshuffle that will see Jackson Ford, Cameron McInnes and Ben Hunt play lock, hooker and halfback respectively.
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Date: Sunday, September 20
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.
Pearce chats to the 100% Footy panel
1. Kalyn Ponga, 22. Gehamat Shibasaki, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Hymel Hunt, 5. Starford To'a, 19. Mason Lino, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Chris Randall, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Mitch Barnett. Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Herman Ese'ese, 17. Sione Mata'utia.
St George Illawarra
1. Matt Dufty, 2. Jordan Pereira, 20. Braden Williame, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Cody Ramsey, 6. Corey Norman, 9. Ben Hunt, 8. Kaide Ellis, 13. Cameron McInnes, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Tyson Frizell, 14. Tariq Sims, 12. Jackson Ford. Interchange: 15. Josh Kerr, 16. Blake Lawrie, 17. Max Feagai, 19. Tyrell Fuimaono.
OLD BOYS DAY
Dating back to the club’s inaugural campaign in 1988, the final match of the regular season - known as Old Boys Day - has seen the Knights pay tribute to those who have come before in representing the red and blue of Newcastle.
Bringing out the best in the side over the years with 21 wins from 32 matches, Sunday afternoon will be the fourth time the Dragons have featured in the traditional fixture.
Recording an emphatic victory over the joint venture in 2014 (40-10), the Knights will be looking to equal the ledger after the Dragons emerged with hard-fought wins in 2010 (26-18) and 2018 (24-14).
DEFENDING THE FORTRESS
Between Andrew Johns nailing a sideline conversion after the siren, Matthew Gidley combining with Darren Albert to snatch victory and Adam MacDougall getting the last laugh over his long-time rival Wendell Sailor, the Knights have enjoyed some memorable clashes against the Dragons over the years.
Lee: Return, areas to improve and wing competition
However in matches contested at McDonald Jones Stadium the Knights boast a record to forget.
Managing just four wins from 21 clashes contested in Newcastle over the past two decades, coach Adam O’Brien will have the Knights primed to defy history and build momentum heading towards the finals.
The first game against the Dragons each season is played for the Alex McKinnon Cup.
The Dragons currently hold the Cup thanks to a 13-12 win over us in Round 4 last year.
KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK
The Knights are chasing back-to-back wins against the Dragons for the second time.
Kalyn Ponga is ranked third in the league for tackle breaks (105).
DRAGONS STAT ATTACK
The Dragons have come from behind at halftime to win their past two matches in Newcastle.
Cameron McInnes leads the NRL in tackles (878) with an average of 55 per game.
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 - Share the Dignity