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How CHN could've quite easily been a Knight

Canterbury back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera could've quite easily been lining up for the Knights in Friday's clash at McDonald Jones Stadium if things turned out differently five years ago.

The former Panthers forward found a new home at Belmore to start the 2019 season after four years at Penrith but interest from the Knights in 2012 left him with a decision to make as a rising teenager from New Zealand.

He knocked back the opportunity and headed to Sydney's west instead, a move that helped him established his career in the NRL with 58 games now under his belt.

"It was before I moved over to Australia, the Knights were a club that I looked at," he told

"Their recruitment manager Peter Mulholland was there. They showed some interest but I was still a stick back then and probably not ready to move yet.

"He got in contact with my manager but I never had a chance to meet him. It never eventuated to a contract and then Penrith came in. I moved to Penrith at the end of 2013 and it's sort of worked out for me in the end."

Harawira-Naera has welcomed another former Panthers teammate Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to Belmore in recent weeks after the disgruntled Kiwis captain gained a release from his local club.

Knights v Bulldogs - Round 17

"It's taken a while to get used to," he said.

"We're lucky he landed here. I caught up with him during the first Origin and he said he had a few offers. He quietly said the Bulldogs were interested but he never show his cards to me.

"I'm happy to have him here and just to see him playing again after the finish he had at Penrith."

The 24-year-old missed the side's Magic Round loss against the Knights in May due to a bereavement in the family but is hopeful the Bulldogs can record back-to-back wins for the first time this season after their last-start upset victory over Cronulla.

"They've got a lot of boys in Origin but the way they played without their stars last week we can't drop our guard because we've been guilty of it. We sort of relax and get a touch-up the following week."

Canterbury will be without five-eighth Kieran Foran for the clash with Brandon Wakeham to partner former Knights halfback Jack Cogger in the halves.

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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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