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Ultimate Guide: Suaalii verdict as Chooks confirm 17

The nib Newcastle Knights are preparing for a huge clash with the Sydney Roosters this Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium.

With plenty of history between the two clubs, a win for the Knights would be a huge boost against one of their rivals heading into the midway point of the campaign.

The red and blue fought a tough battle against the ladder leading Penrith Panthers last Thursday, but went down 24-6, their fourth loss of the season.

Their upcoming opponent achieved a triumphant ANZAC Day win over the St George Illawarra Dragons last Sunday and currently sit in fifth on the ladder.

This is your Ultimate Guide to the Newcastle Knights Round 8 fixture against the Sydney Roosters, brought to you by Mine Super.


Date: Saturday May 1, 2021

Kick-off: 7:30pm

NSW Cup: 5:00pm

Gates Open: 4:45pm

Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium


Since: 1988

Played: 56

Knights: 20

Roosters: 34

Draws: 2



1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Starford To'a, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Brayden Musgrove, 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, 17. Brodie Jones, 18. Pasami Saulo. 

Coach: Adam O'Brien


4. Joseph Manu, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Josh Morris, 5. Brett Morris, 19. Matt Ikuvalu, 6. Drew Hutchinson, 7. Sam Walker, 8. Isaac Liu, 9. Sam Verrills, 10. Lindsay Collins, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Victor Radley. Interchange: 14. Benjamin Marschke, 15. Jared Wearea-Hargreaves, 16. Nat Butcher, 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho. 

Coach: Trent Robinson

AOB: Preparing for the Roosters battle, building on defence and returning players


Roosters Coach Trent Robinson has confirmed James Tedesco has been ruled out of the clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Despite being named at fullback, Tedesco will sit out this week due to a heavy concussion he sustained on ANZAC Day against the Dragons.

"Teddy won't play. He's pretty good but he won't play this weekend," Robinson said.

"He'll get rested, fully recovered and get ready for next week.

"It's pretty simple to see for us with the way Joey Manu plays and the way he's filled in over the years. There is no surprise there."

Joseph Suaalii will be the side's 18th man.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Knights Head Coach Adam O'Brien has named his 17 to tackle the Roosters.

The side is unchanged from the loss to the Panthers, with Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Tex Hoy dropped off the extended bench 24 hours out from kick off.

Phoenix Crossland will be 18th man, while Pasami Saulo earns a bench opportunity at the expense of Josh King.

Knights forward Sauaso Sue will play his 150th game in the NRL this weekend. Sue formally played for the Wests Tigers and Bulldogs before moving to Newcastle at the start of this season.

David Klemmer will also play his 50th game in Knights colours.


The nib Newcastle Knights currently sit 10th on the ladder after the loss to Penrith.

They sit with a host of teams log-jammed in the middle of the table on six points with three wins and four losses.

Newcastle will be eager to return home after their most recent game at MJS with a memorable victory over the Sharks in Round 7.

The Roosters were dominant against the Dragons last round running out 34-10 on ANZAC Day, and have won three out of their last four.

The Chooks sit fifth on the ladder with five wins and two losses from the opening rounds.

Mann: Review of the Panthers game and looking forward


Knights fans will have fond memories from the last time the tri-colours visited McDonald Jones Stadium.

A 38-12 thumping in the early rounds of 2019 snapped a horror run against the Roosters in recent years and is remembered for Mitchell Pearce kissing the badge in front of the home faithful.

Although since that famous win, the Knights have endured back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Eastern Suburbs team.

In the most recent clash the Knights went down 42-12 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Round 18 of last season.

The match will be the second time coach Adam O'Brien faces his former side where he served as an assistant coach in 2019.


The Knights have made more tackles than any other team in the competition this season.

Dummy-half Jayden Brailey made 65 tackles against the Panthers and sits first on the tackle count in the NRL.

Kalyn Ponga has been back to his best since returning from injury which has show in his running metres stats. Ponga has averaged 177 running metres in his first three games and tallied 179 against Penrith.

The Knights defence will be tested against the Roosters attack which has scored the most tries in the NRL so far with 37.

Experienced winger, Brett Morris, leads the NRL try-scorers list with 11 tries in 2021.