The chance to solidify their top eight spot will be on the line when the nib Newcastle Knights take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Saturday.
Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast will set the scene for the crucial Round 23 clash with the Knights coming into the game in good form.
The side have won three in a row to lift themselves into seventh on the table.
On the other side, the Bulldogs are out of finals contention in last spot and have lost eight games on the bounce.
This is your Ultimate Guide to the Newcastle Knights Round 23 fixture with the Bulldogs, brought to you by Mine Super.
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Date: Saturday August 21st, 2021
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Corey Allan, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Aaron Schoupp, 5. Jayden Okunbor, 21. Lachlan Lewis, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Luke Thompson, 9. Jackson Topine, 10. Ryan James, 11. Adam Elliot, 12. Corey Waddell, 13. Josh Jackson (c). Interchange: 14. Bailey Biondi-Odo, 15. Ava Seumanufagai, 16. Corey Horsburgh, 17. Joe Stimson.
Coach: Trent Barrett
1. Kalyn Ponga (c), 2. Enari Tuala, 3. Kurt Mann, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Brodie Jones, 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Connor Watson. Interchange: 14. Sauaso Sue, 15. Josh King 16. Jirah Momoisea, 17. Chris Randall.
Coach: Adam O'Brien
LATE MAIL: Trent Barrett has opted to withdraw Jake Averillo from his side, with the five-eighth succumbing to injury.
Lachlan Lewis comes into the team in jersey 21.
Meanwhile, the Knights will line up 1-17.
UPDATE: Both sides have been reduced to 19 players.
Falakiko Manu and Chris Patolo were omitted for Canterbury, while Phoenix Crossland and Jack Johns came out of the Knights' side.
EARLIER: Knights Head Coach, Adam O'Brien, has named his 21-man squad for Saturday night's clash with the Bulldogs at Cbus Super Stadium.
With representative forwards Daniel Saifiti (knee) and Tyson Frizell (suspended) unavailable for the clash, David Klemmer and Brodie Jones have been selected into the starting squad.
This opens up bench places for Josh King and Jirah Momoisea, who will make his NRL debut and become Newcastle Knight #329.
Chris Randall will also play his third game of the season, coming onto the bench in place of Simi Sasagi, who shuffles back to the reserves.
The remainder of the squad is unchanged from the one which beat Cronulla last week.
For the Bulldogs, the side has made a host of changes.
Corey Allan returns on the wing in place of Falakiko Manu.
Kyle Flanagan will return to the halves in the number 7 jersey, with Jake Averillo moving to the six.
Bailey Biondi-Odo drops back to the bench while Luke Thompson returns to the front row after serving a three game suspension in place of Ava Seumanufagai, who moves back to the bench.
Jackson Topine comes in as starting hooker to replace Sione Katoa, who drops out of the squad.
Corey Waddell returns in the second row after recovering from a calf injury, with Matt Doorey and Chris Patolo both dropping back to the extended bench.
The Knights have given themselves a strong chance to finish in the top eight off the back of their recent performances.
A gritty, come-from-behind victory against finals rivals, the Sharks, last round was their third in a row.
Sitting on 22 points, the team sits in seventh heading into Round 23 and remain two points above the Titans (8th) and Raiders (9th) and four points above the Sharks (10th), Dragons (11th), Warriors (12th) and the Tigers (13th) .
The Bulldogs have lost their past eight including a 24-10 defeat to the Warriors last start.
Newcastle downed the Bulldogs 32-16 earlier this season back in Round 1.
Mitchell Pearce v Kyle Flanagan
It will be the experienced veteran taking on the up-and-coming halfback in the battle of the No. 7's.
In eight games this season, Pearce has been a calm influence on the team, featuring in six wins for only two losses (also played only 26 minutes in the Dragons defeat in Round 4).
In that time, he has produced seven try-assists and seven line-break assists while has averaged just over 320 kicking metres per game.
Flanagan returns to the team and will pose a threat having notched five forced drop outs so far this season.
The difference between the two kicking game's could be pivotal in who comes out on top.
The last time the Knights and Bulldogs played each other in Queensland was back in 2013 when Newcastle won 18-12 in Mackay.
The Bulldogs sit 16th in the NRL for line breaks with 52.
Jayden Brailey continues to chart well in the NRL tackle count still sitting second and only behind the Dragons' Andrew McCullough with 957 tackles so far this season.