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Both the Knights and Warriors have plenty to play for as the 2020 NRL season heads into the home straight.

Just five games out from the finals sixth-placed Newcastle are within a point of fourth place and with a three-game wining streak under their belt and just two top-eight opponents left on their slate will fancy their chances of a strong finish.

The Knights' new-found toughness and resilience were on full display in their gritty 12-0 round 15 win over the Cowboys despite adding yet another serious injury, five-eighth Blake Green, to their already busy injury ward.

The Warriors, who have overcome a succession of obstacles during a nightmare season, find themselves in a four-way tie for ninth on the ladder but face a brutal gauntlet of four successive top-eight teams in their bid to secure a far higher finish than anyone would have been expecting.  

The Rundown

Team news

Warriors: Will start 1-17 after Isaiah Papali'i and Paul Turner were the two players left out an hour before kick-off. Halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita returns from a week off due to a head knock in place of Turner. Eliesa Katoa is back and starting in the second row. The Warriors have won three of their past four games.

Gerard Beale and Josh Curran were omitted from the squad 24 hours from kick-off.

Knights: Chris Randall (No.19) will start on the bench with Phoenix Crossland joining Brodie Jones as the last two players to be omitted. Mason Lino comes in at five-eighth after the season-ending knee injury to late-season recruit Blake Green. He also provides another goal-kicking option. 

Tex Hoy was omitted from the reserves on Friday along with Jirah Momoisea. Prop Daniel Saifiti (knee) will miss another week with coach Adam O'Brien having said he needed to be "120 percent" fit for selection. Enforcer David Klemmer will make his 150th NRL appearance.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Warriors is number 2 Adam Pompey
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'a
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Hayze Perham
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat Shibasaki
  • Winger for Warriors is number 5 George Jennings
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Karl Lawton
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt Mann
  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Lachlan Burr
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Jacob Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
  • Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Wayde Egan
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Adam Blair
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Josh King
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Pasami Saulo
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack Murchie
    Interchange for Knights is number 19 Chris Randall

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Gavin Badger
  • Video Referee: Ben Lowe
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck v Kalyn Ponga: Two of the best fullbacks in the competition go head-to-head in peak form. The Warriors custodian was back to his very best against the Bulldogs, running for 337 metres and notching a try, a line break and five tackle busts.

His younger Knights counterpart has also been in scintillating form, providing both try assists and kicking two from three in a gale in the two-tries-to-none victory over North Queensland.

Stat Attack

This will be the 43rd time the two sides have met with the Warriors holding a slender one-win advantage (41-40) with one game having been drawn. The Warriors are ahead in points scored by a similarly slim margin (953-945).

Neither side has been able to get a run on the other with the result being flipped from game to game over the past six contests.