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Canberra have shown last year's success was no fluke with a flying 3-0 start to the season, while Newcastle have won new admirers with their gritty performances.

The Raiders continued their recent dominance of Melbourne in their own backyard with an impressive win led by English halfback George Williams in round three.

The Knights preserved their undefeated record by drawing with Penrith in what felt like a win after they clawed back from 14-0 down with depleted troops.

Just how big a toll the inspirational effort took on Newcastle remains to be seen.

The Rundown

Team News

Raiders: The Raiders will start 1-17 after Tom Starling and Matt Frawley were the final two players dropped from the squad. Bailey Simonsson returns on the ng with Jordan Rapana moving to the bench and Michael Oldfield out of the 17. Kai O'Donnell and Oldfield dropped off the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off. The Raiders are aiming for a 4-0 start for the first time since 2005.

Knights: Mitchell Pearce has passed all concussion protocols throughout the week and has been given the green light to play after leaving the field in last week's match against Penrith due after a head knock. In the final cuts to the squad, Gehamat Shibasaki and Chris Randall were omitted an hour before kick-off. Kalyn Ponga returns from suspension at fullback, bumping Tex Hoy to the bench. Andrew McCullough will start in Knights colours for the first time at hooker in place of Connor Watson (ankle). Herman Ese'ese starts at lock, with Tim Glasby on the interchange. Mason Lino and Pasami Saulo were the players trimmed from the bench on Saturday.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
  • Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis Scott
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
  • Winger for Raiders is number 5 Nick Cotric
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 George Williams
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce

Forwards

  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Andrew McCullough
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis Lui
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Joseph Tapine
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Aidan Guerra
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Sione Mata'utia
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Corey Horsburgh
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Herman Ese'ese

Interchange

  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva Havili
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Tex Hoy
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Iosia Soliola
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Tim Glasby
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Jordan Rapana
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones

Key Match-Up

Bradman Best v Curtis Scott. The teenage Best was on fire against Penrith, scoring two tries in a powerful display. It'll be interesting to watch him face off with Canberra's Scott, who himself burst onto the scene at a young age.