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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. 

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.