The Knights may not be high up on the NRL ladder but their recent form line and history against Storm suggest they will present a very difficult test.
Hunter Stadium is a tough road trip, with Newcastle getting the better of their purple counterparts in three of their past five games at the venue.
Nathan Brown’s side were also very unlucky not to beat the Raiders in Canberra. If not for a very unfortunate bounce they very well could have left the nation’s capital with the two points.
With that defeat burning over last week’s bye and the return of key personnel, there is plenty to consider with regard’s to Storm’s opposition this week.
Return of the Mullen
Jarrod Mullen returns to the Knights’ lineup after an 11-week absence through injury. His inclusion has a two-fold benefit. Not only will he bring his kicking game and playmaking ability but his presence will also free up halfback Trent Hodkinson, Mullen’s ability to put his teammates over the try line was evident in the opening eight rounds as he recorded five try assists. With their halves duo now complete, the Knights will have plenty to throw at the Storm defence.
Always lift for Storm
It is no secret that Newcastle always rises to the occasion when they take on Melbourne. They have beaten Storm in three of their last five meetings. Two of those wins were by two points while they other was a convincing 20-6 win at AAMI Park. In their Round 5 trip to Melbourne earlier this year, Newcastle would be forgiven for feeling hard done by to not return home with the points. They led for most of the game before to late Storm tries swung the result the home side’s way. Ladder position goes out the window when these two sides meet, making Sunday’s clash a very intriguing one.
The Knights have displayed a tendancy to be adventurous with the football in 2016. While that may leave them open to the occasional error it also makes them unpredictable and difficult to plan for. They are a young team with nothing to lose so expect them to throw caution to the wind.