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Defend the Kingdom: Round 12 NRL preview

Coming off a confidence-boosting win over the Gold Coast, the nib Newcastle Knights will travel up the coast to Coffs Harbour aiming for another important two points.

The boys will face an in-form Sharks outfit, who have won four of their last five matches.

Both sides will wear special jerseys as the league celebrates Indigenous Round, adding to the anticipation for the Round 12 fixture.


Date: Saturday, May 20th

Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour

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

AOB on team selections and improvement areas for Sharks clash


Since: 1988

Played: 58

Sharks: 26

Knights: 31

Draws: 1


Team Lists


  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Lachlan Miller
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Dominic Young
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Dane Gagai
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Connor Tracey
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Greg Marzhew
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kalyn Ponga
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Jackson Hastings


  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Oregon Kaufusi
    Prop for Knights is number 8 Daniel Saifiti
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Phoenix Crossland
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Royce Hunt
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Jack Hetherington
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Dale Finucane
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Leo Thompson


  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Tyson Gamble
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Wade Graham
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Thomas Hazelton
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Adam Elliott
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 20 Braden Hamlin-Uele
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Mat Croker


  • Replacement for Sharks is number 18 Daniel Atkinson
    Replacement for Knights is number 18 Jack Johns

Match Officials

  • Referee: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated:


UPDATE: No changes to the Knights side.

For the Sharks, prop Braden Hamlin-Uele has been added to the bench on Friday.

TUESDAY: Knights Head Coach, Adam O'Brien, named his 22-man squad for our Coffs Harbour clash against the Cronulla Sharks.

The coach selected the same 17 that took down the Titans last round.

Hard working back-rower Tyson Frizell will notch up another personal milestone, when he runs out for game number 50 in the red and blue Knights jersey.

For the Sharks, Siosifa Talakai (neck) remains sidelined so Connor Tracey holds his spot in the centres.

Prop Oregon Kaufusi (illness) will return after being a late withdrawal from the clash against Manly. Cameron McInnes played prop last week in Kaufusi's absence but suffered a broken hand during the match and could miss up to four weeks.


The Club will celebrate this year's Indigenous Round with a special jersey for our Round 12 clash against the Sharks.

This season's Indigenous Round jersey, designed by Worimi artist, Gerard Black, proudly acknowledges the First Nations of our region, stretching from the Hawkesbury River to the Queensland border and into north-western NSW.

The 2023 design picks up the thread of Black’s 2022 version, which received overwhelming positive responses from the community.

The jersey is a beautiful and powerful representation of the natural and cultural heritage of Newcastle and the surrounding region, depicting the waterways, lands, sand dunes, and mountain ranges, interconnected with the spirit of the ancestors and creators in dreaming times. 

Read more about our 2023 Indigenous jersey here, which is also available to buy at our Club shop. 


Fresh off the bye, the Knights returned to winning ways with a 20-point win over the Gold Coast last start.

The result lifted the Knights up to 11th on the ladder and only a point outside the eight.

The Sharks currently sit in fourth spot on the ladder after 10 games played.

They defeated the Manly Sea Eagles last round with a 20-14 victory.

Gagai on Indigenous Round jersey and attacking areas


Jackson Hastings v Nicho Hynes:  It's hard to go past the two No.7's as this Round's key match-up with Jacko set to face Nicho.

Hastings has played in every game this season up to Round 12 for the red and blue.

The 27-year-old has six forced drop outs and five try-assists in 2023.

On the other side, the reigning Dally M Medallist poses a continual threat with 12 line-break assists and nine try-assists for the season so far.

Croker on Sharks test and defence


The match will be the first NRL game for the Knights held in Coffs Harbour.

Jackson Hastings leads the NRL for line-break involvements with 8.

Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo leads the competition in line-breaks with 16.

The Knights achieved a 10-year Club first scoring the most points in a single game since 2013 in the win over the Titans.