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The Knights are starting to get on a roll now Kalyn Ponga has returned to fullback and a solid win over Canterbury will have them full of confidence as they head to Mudgee to take on St George Illawarra.

It's not a great time for the Dragons to draw the Knights after a demoralising loss to the Warriors last week. It was a game they had full control of in the first 20 minutes and looked set to cruise to victory but they faded as the minutes ticked by and lost it in the final stages.

Newcastle would almost consider Mudgee home territory heading due west from the Hunter and they'll be walking tall now they've turned a run of losses into three wins in a row.

The Rundown

Team news

Dragons: A late change for Paul McGregor with Josh Kerr knocking off Jeremy Latimore on the bench. Mitchell Allgood was also dropped an hour before kick-off. Korbin Sims' comeback from a broken arm has been delayed by at least a week after he was dropped from the reserves on Saturday along with Jonus Pearson. The Dragons have lost their past three games.

Knights: Nathan Brown has made a late change to his squad with Kurt Mann elevated to start at five-eighth, relegating Connor Watson to the bench. Jamie Buhrer and Pasami Saulo were cut from the reserves on Saturday with Josh King and Mason Lino omitted an hour before kick-off. Three wins on the trot has given Brown the luxury of some stability and he has named the same 17 which took care of the Bulldogs in the Magic Round on the back of Ponga and Pearce's brilliance. The last time the Knights won four in a row was the opening four rounds of 2015.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matt Dufty
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Zac Lomax
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Hymel Hunt
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Tim Lafai
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Jesse Ramien
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Jai Field
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 14 Kurt Mann
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce


  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 James Graham
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnes
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Danny Levi
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Blake Lawrie
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Tim Glasby


  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Euan Aitken
    Interchange for Knights is number 6 Connor Watson
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Jacob Host
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Luciano Leilua
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 James Gavet
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 20 Josh Kerr
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Sione Mata'utia

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Referee: Liam Kennedy
  • Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell

Last updated:

Key match-up

The halfbacks have a lot to play for. The form of Nathan Cleary and James Maloney means Brad Fittler will be watching his other options closely and another big game from Mitchell Pearce could give him another shot at a Blues jersey. Ben Hunt had a moment to forget last week when he fumbled a crucial dropout that gave the Warriors the chance to go down-field and score. He'll want to redeem himself with Origin selection around the corner.

For the Dragons to win

Tighten up the middle. The Warriors had a lot of success in that area of the field, a number of breaks being made there leaving the Dragons' defence scrambling. Pearce and Ponga can easily exploit that kind of weakness. They'll want to push the Knights to the edges with them possibly without Connor Watson and Edrick Lee after injuries last week. 

For the Knights to win

Keep doing what they're doing. Three wins in a row means something is working and it's about continuing to build on those combinations as the top eight comes within striking distance.

Brett Kimmorley says

How good is taking the game to regional areas? There should be a large crowd in Mudgee for this one. The Dragons need to get back to their winning ways, as without Corey Norman they've come back to the middle of the field. Newcastle have a big chance to cause an upset. Ponga, Pearce and Klemmer have been great for the Knights. They've changed their style, they've found some confidence, and big players can usually return to form pretty quickly and that's what the Knights are getting from those three stars. I like what they're offering up at the moment. Knights by 4.

Stat Attack

Kalyn Ponga sealed the win last week with a solo effort try, but don't discount the work he does in setting others up. He finished with two line-break assists and a try assist (as well as 116 run metres) in their win over the Bulldogs.

And another thing ...

Glen Willow Oval in Mudgee has hosted four games since 2012 (two City-Country, two NRL). It has been near-capacity (10,000) every time and is the second year in a row the Dragons have taken a game there, last year defeating Canberra 25-18.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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