The nib Newcastle Knights will hit the road in Round 9 and head south-west to take on the Canberra Raiders in Wagga Wagga this Saturday.
The side will look to end a two-game losing streak with an important victory over the team from the capital.
Newcastle suffered a disappointing 38-4 loss to the Sydney Roosters last round and will aim to respond with plenty of spirit at McDonalds Park.
Both teams sit on six points while an opportunity to potentially leapfrog back into the top eight will take the spotlight.
This is your Ultimate Guide to the Newcastle Knights Round 9 fixture against the Canberra Raiders, brought to you by Mine Super.
CANBERRA RAIDERS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Date: Saturday May 8, 2021
NSW Cup: 12:40pm
Gates Open: 10:45am
Venue: McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga
1. Caleb Aekins, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Sebastian Kris, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Emre Guler, 11. Corey Harawira-Naera, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Hudson Young, 16. Corey Horsburgh, 17. Joseph Tapine.
Coach: Ricky Stuart
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Brayden Musgrove, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Bradman Best, 19. Starford To'a, 6. Kurt Mann, 7. Phoenix Crossland, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Jayden Brailey (c), 10. Daniel Saifiti (c), 11. Tyson Frizell, 18. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Mitch Barnett. Interchange: 13. Connor Watson, 14. Sauaso Sue, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Brodie Jones. 18th Man: 22. Gehamat Shibasaki.
Coach: Adam O'Brien
Adam O'Brien has confirmed the 17 players who will take the field to face the Raiders at McDonalds Park in Wagga Wagga tonight.
Pasami Saulo comes out of the side this week, with Lachlan Fitzgibbon making his return in the second row for his first game of the season.
Mitch Barnett moves to lock, with Connor Watson dropping back to the bench in Saulo's place.
There are no further changes to the original 17-man side which was named on Tuesday afternoon.
Hymel Hunt has been ruled out of the clash, with Starford To'a returning to the team in jersey No.19. Gehamat Shibasaki has also been added to the roster.
Phoenix Crossland will make his first ever appearance in the No.7 jersey, with Blake Green out with a rib complaint.
The Raiders have Sebastian Kris and George Williams back after passing fitness tests.
Queensland prop forward Josh Papalii is also set to return to the side after being rested last week.
The Green Machine are 1-17 as per Tuesday's program.
As mentioned, the Knights went down to the Roosters last start which was their fifth defeat in six outings.
Three wins on the board sees the red and blue sit just outside the top eight in 11th, equal with Canberra.
A second-half blitz from South Sydney last start dealt the Raiders their fourth loss on the bounce.
The Green Machine sit in ninth and haven't lost five straight games under coach Ricky Stuart since 2014.
Newcastle has enjoyed recent joy over the Raiders with three wins in the last five fixtures including a 34-18 victory in Round 4 of last season.
HEADING TO THE BUSH
Newcastle will enjoy a change of scenery for their away trip against the Raiders as they head to Wagga Wagga.
Wagga Wagga sits approximately six hours south-west of Newcastle and is situated on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River in the heart of the Riverina region of NSW.
In past seasons, the Knights have visited regional areas and have enjoyed victories in places such as Tamworth and Mudgee.
The fixture will also be the first time in the Club's history they have played in an NRL game in the city.
The match will be the second time Canberra have played in Wagga Wagga where they previously won against Penrith back in 2019.
Fitzgibbon: 'There's no excuses'
David Klemmer v Josh Papalii: With Josh Papalii back in the starting side for the Raiders, it produces a mouth-watering match-up in the middle of the park with Knights enforcer, David Klemmer.
The two Origin representatives will take it upon themselves to win the battle which will go along way to winning the contest.
Papalii has averaged 140 running metres this season per game while Klemmer has notched, on average, 159 running metres.
The Raiders front-rower has completed 12 offloads while Klemmer has made eight.
Newcastle has scored more points against Canberra than any other team in the Club's history.
The Knights have scored 1,170 points against the Green Machine in 51 matches at an average of just over 22 points a game.
The Knights have made the least amount of errors in the NRL this season with only 73.
The Sea Eagles sit first with 100 while the Raiders are fourth highest with 94 errors.
Raiders winger Jordan Rapana is the leading try-scorer for his side with seven tries while Starford To'a leads for the Knights with five.