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Ultimate Guide: Mulitalo out as Sharks make confirm 17

The nib Newcastle Knights will play host to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in a showdown at McDonald Jones Stadium this Friday.

Knights Head Coach Adam O'Brien will be after a positive response from his team after a disappointing 42-16 defeat at the hands of the Gold Coast Titans last round.

Newcastle and Cronulla sit on four points each after the first five rounds while the two teams appear well-matched on paper.

Adam O'Brien and Cronulla interim coach Josh Hannay have named their respective sides ahead of Friday night.

This is your Ultimate Guide to the Newcastle Knights Round 6 fixture against the Sharks, brought to you by Mine Super.

AOB: Randall update, defensive lapses and KP return

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NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS V CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS

Date: Friday 16th April, 2021

Kick-off: 6:00pm

Gates Open: 4:30pm

Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Since: 1988

Played: 55

Knights: 30

Sharks: 24

Draws: 1

TEAMS

Knights

1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Brayden Musgrove, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Kurt Mann, 7. Blake Green, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Jayden Brailey (c), 10. Daniel Saifiti (c), 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Connor Watson. Interchange: 14. Sauaso Sue, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Josh King, 17. Brodie Jones.

Coach: Adam O'Brien

Sharks

1. Will Kennedy, 2. Mawene Hiroti, 12. Teig Wilton, 4. Jesse Ramien, 3. Connor Tracey, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Briton Nikora, 16. Jack Williams, 13. Toby Rudolf. Interchange: 14. Billy Magoulias, 15. Aiden Tolman, 17. Siosifa Taklakai, 18. Braydon Trindall.

Interim Coach: Josh Hannay

TEAM NEWS

The Sharks have been forced into a major re-shuffle after winger Ronaldo Mulitalo was ruled out.

Connor Tracey shifts to the wing, while Teig Wilton moves from the back-row to the centres, clearing the way for Jack Williams to start in the forwards.

Braydon Trindall has been promoted to the bench in Williams' place.

Josh Dugan and Wade Graham are both also missing from the Sharks team after picking up concessions against the Roosters last week.

In some good news for Cronulla, the Sharks welcome back Briton Nikora after the back rower from suspension, along with forward Siosifa Talakai for what will be his first game for 2021.

Connor Tracey has been named to start in Dugan’s centre position.

Meanwhile, O'Brien has revealed the side will be 1-17 as per Tuesday's program.

Brayden Musgrove will become Knights Player No.324 when he takes to the field for his NRL debut on tomorrow.

The Cessnock winger comes into the side in place of Starford To'a, while the rest of the backline will also see plenty of changes.

Bradman Best and Kurt Mann return to the team following their respective injury lay-offs.

Jacob Saifiti also makes his return from suspension at the expense of Pasami Saulo, who also moves back to the reserves.

FORM GUIDE

The Knights suffered their third straight defeat in the loss to the Titans.

The result was the first time the Club have endured three straight deficits under coach Adam O'Brien since he took charge in 2020.

Newcastle sit 11th on the ladder after five rounds, tied with the Warriors and Sharks on four points but below on points differential.

Cronulla have also won two, lost three which included a narrow 26-18 defeat to the Sydney Roosters last round.

The Sharks let slip a 14 point lead against the Roosters to slide to ninth on the ladder.

BRAILEY V BRAILEY

Newcastle Knights hooker Jayden Brailey will face his former club for the first time.

The 25-year-old played 70 games for the Sharks between 2017 and 2019 before making his way to Newcastle at the start of the 2020 season.

The co-captain will also come up against a very familiar face in his brother, Blayke.

The siblings and opposing No. 9's will play against each other for the first time which will make for an intriguing battle in the middle of the park.

SHARK ATTACK

The Knights have enjoyed a recent spate of success against their upcoming opposition.

A Kalyn Ponga hat-trick inspired a 38-10 victory over Cronulla last season. 

Knights fans will also treasure the memorable victory against the Sharks in Round 1 of 2019 when Edrick Lee secured an intercept late in the game to run the length of the field and score.

Before the last two results, it was a barren run of games for the red and blue when facing the team from the Shire.

The Sharks won eight games in a row against Newcastle between 2015 and 18 which included the Club's biggest defeat at home with a 62-0 scoreline in the year Cronulla won the competition, 2016.

STAT ATTACK

The two teams are even on points and the stats back it up with little to split them in the points scored department with the Knights averaging 20 so far this season and the Sharks sitting on 22.

Both teams have also completed at an average of 79% per game.

Knights star Jayden Brailey has had his hands on the football the most out of any player in the NRL with 599 receipts in 2021.

Sharks halfback Chad Townsend will look to utilise his kicking game against Newcastle having posted the most amount of kick metres this season in the NRL with 2,439 metres.

The Sharks have only won eight games out of 21 attempts when playing the Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.