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Defend the Kingdom: NRL Round 22 preview

The nib Newcastle Knights will travel down to the nation's capital to take on the Canberra Raiders this Saturday.

Riding the momentum after three wins on the trot, the red and blue will look to keep pushing their claims for a coveted top eight spot.

The match is set to be an enthralling battle at the home of the Raiders with the green machine sitting in fifth spot on the ladder.


Date: Saturday, July 29th

Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra

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


Since: 1988

Raiders: 29

Knights: 24

Draws: 2


Team Lists


  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Sebastian Kris
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Albert Hopoate
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Dominic Young
  • Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Dane Gagai
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
  • Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Greg Marzhew
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Tyson Gamble
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Jackson Hastings


  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Knights is number 8 Jacob Saifiti
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Zac Woolford
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Phoenix Crossland
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Leo Thompson
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Corey Horsburgh
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Adam Elliott


  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Kurt Mann
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Brodie Jones
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Pasami Saulo
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Jack Hetherington
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Ata Mariota
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Mat Croker


  • Replacement for Raiders is number 19 Matt Frawley
    Replacement for Knights is number 18 Dylan Lucas

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:


Daniel Saifiti comes out of the team with a thigh injury with brother Jacob taking his spot in the front-row.

Brodie Jones joins the interchange bench and will make his 50th appearance in the NRL against the Raiders.

The rest of the team is unchanged from the side which defeated Melbourne last start.

For the Raiders, their side is unchanged from the team that played the Warriors last start.


Women in League Round is always a special event on the rugby league calendar as the game comes together to celebrate and recognise the significant role women play in our game.

From the Mums driving their kids to training, to the volunteers at junior rugby league, to those working in the game and to the players, the game unites to pay tribute to all the incredible women in rugby league. 

This year, for the first time ever Women in League Round will occur during both the NRL and NRLW seasons.

Ahead of the round, the NRL invited Clubs to provide their Role Models to coincide with the round and to be recognised during the broadcasts of their respective games.

The NRL Role Model for 2023 is Executive Assistant, Kellie Wagner.


The Knights earned their third straight win with a 26-18 victory over the Melbourne Storm last start.

Newcastle sit in 10th spot (8W, 1D, 9L) on the ladder, one point outside of the top eight.

Meanwhile, the Raiders sit in fifth spot (11W, 7L) on the competition ladder.

They were defeated 21-20 against the Warriors away from home in Round 21.

Gagai on Raiders test and team focus


Leo Thompson v Joseph Tapine: The battle of the forwards will be worth the price of admission alone on Saturday with Thompson set to clash with Raiders forward, Joseph Tapine.

Thompson has been a consistent figure in the Knights pack this season having yet to miss a game.

Leo has 27 tackle breaks and averages just over nine hit-ups per game, while is still waiting for his elusive first try in the NRL.

Saifiti on continuing momentum and community passion

The Knights will look to contain the dangerous Tapine who has 19 offloads so far this season and averages 163 metres per game.


Dominic Young requires two tries to equal the Knights’ record for most tries in a season, which stands at 21.

Halfback Jackson Hastings leads the NRL in line break involvements with 16 this season.

In total kick metres for the 2023 season, the Knights have 10,124 for the season while the Raiders have 10,775.

Forward Brodie Jones will make his 50th NRL and Knights appearance on Saturday.