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If they're not already considered heavyweights this year, Newcastle can all but confirm their status as top-four contenders by beating Melbourne on Saturday.

Unbeaten after four rounds (three wins, one draw) and playing with plenty of tenacity and skill under coach Adam O'Brien, the Knights made a statement by belting the Raiders last weekend.

A round earlier Canberra had easily accounted for the Storm, leaving some asking whether Craig Bellamy's men were a fading force.

But they responded with a tough win over South Sydney to steady their campaign and prop themselves up in the top eight.

The Rundown

Team News

Knights: The Knights are 1-17, with Kurt Mann passed fit despite picking up an ankle injury last week. Lachlan Fitzgibbon (hamstring) failed to come up and he was omitted on Friday night along with Josh King. Tautau Moga and Phoenix Crossland dropped off the extended bench on game day. 

Storm: Ryley Jacks starts at No.7 to replace Jahrome Hughes (broken hand) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona replaces Chris Lewis on the interchange. Brandon Smith will start again with Christian Welch coming off the bench, while Tom Eisenhuth replaces Max King on the interchange. Marion Seve, Cooper Johns and Nicho Hynes were the other players omitted from the initial 21-man squad named on Tuesday. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Suliasi Vunivalu
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Justin Olam
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Brenko Lee
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
    Halfback for Storm is number 7 Ryley Jacks

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Andrew McCullough
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Cameron Smith
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
    Prop for Storm is number 14 Brandon Smith
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Aidan Guerra
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Sione Mata'utia
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Herman Ese'ese
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Dale Finucane

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Tex Hoy
    Interchange for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
    Interchange for Storm is number 15 Tino Faasuamaleaui
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Tim Glasby
    Interchange for Storm is number 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  • Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones
    Interchange for Storm is number 18 Tom Eisenhuth

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Gavin Badger
  • Video Referee: Ben Galea
  • Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell

Last updated:

Key Match-Up

Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga was at his brilliant best last weekend and he now meets an equally electric fullback opponent in Ryan Papenhuyzen. The pair represented Australia together in touch football five years back and would surely love to outdo one another.