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Defend the Kingdom: NRL Round 4 preview

The nib Newcastle Knights will return home for another Sunday afternoon special taking on the Canberra Raiders at McDonald Jones Stadium in Round 4.

In a bumper day of footy at the home of the Knights this weekend, the red and blue will be chasing another vital two points early in the campaign.

Newcastle fought hard against the Dolphins in Round 3, but couldn't come away with the victory while the Raiders downed Cronulla in a tight-game in the previous round.


Date: Sunday, March 26

Kick-off: 4:05pm

Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

The match will be shown live on Nine, Fox League and Kayo Sports


Game Day itinerary: See here

Gates/Fan Zone open: 11:15am

Jersey Flegg kick-off: 11:30am

NSW Cup kick-of: 1:35pm

Merchandise: Show your colours

Tickets: Purchase here

50-50 Charity Partner: Jenny's Place

Match Day sponsor: nib 


Since: 1988

Knights: 23

Raiders: 29

Draws: 2


Team Lists


  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Lachlan Miller
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Sebastian Kris
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Hymel Hunt
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 James Schiller
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Matthew Timoko
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Harley Smith-Shields
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Greg Marzhew
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Albert Hopoate
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Tyson Gamble
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Jackson Hastings
    Halfback for Raiders is number 18 Matt Frawley


  • Prop for Knights is number 8 Daniel Saifiti
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
    Hooker for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Leo Thompson
    Prop for Raiders is number 17 Emre Guler
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 22 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Kurt Mann
    Lock for Raiders is number 13 Corey Harawira-Naera


  • Interchange for Knights is number 11 Brodie Jones
    Interchange for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papali'i
  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Phoenix Crossland
    Interchange for Raiders is number 9 Zac Woolford
  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jack Hetherington
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Pasami Saulo
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Mat Croker
    Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh


  • Replacement for Knights is number 18 Dylan Lucas
    Replacement for Raiders is number 19 Brad Schneider

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:


LATE MAIL: Tyson Frizell has been named in the starting side with Brodie Jones dropping back to the interchange.

Jack Johns comes out of the team while Dylan Lucas has been named 18th man.

For the Raiders, halfback Jamal Fogarty is a late withdrawal with Matt Frawley coming into the team.

Hooker Tom Starling comes into the run-on side with Zac Woolford moving to the bench.

TUESDAY: Knights Head Coach Adam O'Brien named his 22-man squad for our battle against the Raiders.

Hooker Jayden Brailey returns from concussion to lead the Knights out on home soil for the first time this year, along with hard working lock Kurt Mann who missed the Wests Tigers and Dolphins clashes due a shoulder tear.

Powerful winger Greg Marzhew will make his Knights debut, becoming player No. 343 and the ninth Club debutant this season.

O’Brien’s squad includes several players with injury concerns, medical staff will use the longer turnaround to give them every chance to take the field on Sunday.

The extended squad is a mixture of players fighting for NRL spots and players returning from injury, plus some young debutants backing up after strong debuts in the red and blue jersey.

For the Raiders, Prop Josh Papali'i has recovered from a calf injury and lines up for his first game of the year so Emre Guler goes to the bench and Trey Mooney is out.

Zac Woolford replaces Danny Levi (broken jaw) in the starting line-up.


After a back-and-forth battle last round, the Knights went down by 16 points to the Dolphins at home in Round 3.

The Knights took the lead early in the second half, but succumb to three lates tries in the final minutes against the league newcomers.

Canberra took on Cronulla last round and took the two points with a 4-point win at GIO Stadium.

The result was the Raiders first win of the season after starting the campaign with back to back defeats to the Cowboys and Dolphins.

Crossland on dummy-half role and training efforts


Leo Thompson v Josh Papali'i: It's set to be a colossal battle in the middle of the park between Leo Thompson and Papali'i.

After making his representative debut for the Maori All Stars in February, Thompson has started the season in fine form with dominant displays in the opening rounds.

The forward played 63 minutes in the middle against the Dolphins last start making 48 tackles plus came up with some big defensive plays in the Round 2 win over the Tigers.

Thompson will welcome the challenge from the Raiders front-row forward Papali'i who makes his return from injury for his first game of the season.


Knights centre Bradman Best has scored three tries in three games against the Raiders.

Hetherington on Raiders test and playing at home

The Raiders won the last game between the two sides last season with a 28-22 victory in Round 23.

The Knights have averaged a 3.63 second play the ball speed this season with the Raiders averaging 3.75 seconds.

Knights fullback Lachlan Miller leads the NRL for tackle breaks with 26 so far this season.