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Ultimate Guide: Tigers confirm team

The nib Newcastle Knights will be aiming to make it three wins from three to start the 2021 season when they host the Wests Tigers this Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The side is also determined to make it a day to remember for Mitchell Pearce on his milestone 300th game.

The Knights left it late to earn a 20-16 victory against the Warriors last start while the Tigers went down 40-6 to the Sydney Roosters in Round 2.

Both coaches have named their sides ahead of Sunday's big clash.

Here is your Ultimate Guide to the Knights Round 3 clash with the Tigers brought to you by Mine Super.


Date: Sunday, March 28

Kick-off: 4:05pm

NSW Cup: 1:45pm

Gates: 1:15pm

Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium


Since: 2000

Played: 30

Knights: 15

Tigers: 15



1. Tex Hoy, 18. Gehamat Shibasaki, 3. Enari Tuala, 20. Dom Young, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Kurt Mann, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Jayden Brailey (C), 10. Daniel Saifiti (C), 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Mitch Barnett, 14. Sauaso Sue. Interchange: 13. Connor Watson, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Josh King, 17. Brodie Jones. 


1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Tommy Talau, 4. James Roberts, 5. AJ Kepaoa, 6. Adam Doueihi, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Zane Musgrove, 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. James Tamou (C), 11. Luciano Leilua, 12. Luke Garner, 13. Alex Twal. Interchange: 14. Joe Ofahengaue, 15. Thomas Mikaele, 16. Stefano Utoikamanu, 17. Moses Mbye. 

AOB: Milestone Mitch, positive start and getting the week right


Adam O'Brien has named a largely unchanged line-up from the Warriors win.

Kurt Mann is the big inclusion and will return to five-eight with Phoenix Crossland suspended.

The rest of the team remains the same with Daniel Saifiti and Jayden Brailey named as co-captains for the third game running.

For the Tigers, Michael Maguire has named his team with Joseph Leilua dropped to the extended bench.

Zane Musgrove and James Roberts have returned to the starting line-up.


Mitchell Pearce will run out for his 300th game in the NRL on Sunday.

The 31-year-old will become the 42nd member to break the 300 game milestone.

The experienced halfback has played 61 games for the Newcastle Knights and spent 239 games at the Sydney Roosters after making his debut in 2007.

Pearce has played an instrumental role in the opening two games of the season in victories over the Bulldogs and the Warriors with his kicking game a key highlight.

The playmaker has made the most amount of kicks in the NRL so far this season and sits second on kick metres.

Coach Adam O'Brien reflects on the incredible career of Mitchell Pearce


The Knights enjoyed huge wins over the joint venture last season.

The red and blue racked up a whopping 86 points against the Tigers across the two fixtures in 2020.

A 42-24 victory away from home in Round 2 was backed up by a 44-4 thumping at McDonald Jones Stadium later in the season.

Although, the scores are split when it comes to the overall record with both sides on 15 wins apiece.

It will come down to Sunday's huge game to decide who will come away with the slim lead on the overall record.


As mentioned, Newcastle has made a great start to the season in 2021 with two wins from two.

Wins over the Bulldogs and the Warriors have the Knights sitting fourth albeit after only two games.

The club haven't won their opening three matches since 2015, and since the premiership-winning year of 2001, the Knights have only won the first three games on three occasions with 02' and 06' being the others.

The Tigers on the other hand are coming off back-to-back losses including a 40-6 thrashing at the hands of the Roosters and a Round 1 loss to the Raiders.

Michael Maguire's men will be aiming to spoil the party and grab their first victory of the season.

Barnett: Brutal pack battle and goal kicking


Mitch Barnett has been handed the goal-kicking duties in the absence of Kalyn Ponga and has thrived in the role.

Barnett has landed the most conversions in the NRL so far this season with 10 goals and is currently tied first on points scored with 24 alongside Roosters duo James Tedesco and Brett Morris.

The Knights have the second highest completion rate percentage in the competition with 88%, a stat they would be eager to maintain.

David Klemmer has again been a metre-eater in the opening rounds and sits third on the overall post-contact metres with 156.

Co-capatin Jayden Brailey has been a rock in defence and sits second on overall tackles made with 111.

Brailey sneaks over