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Knights v Eels: Round nine preview

Newcastle go into their clash with competition front-runners Parramatta battered and bruised after outlasting Manly in a Lottoland slugfest.

Winger Edrick Lee suffered a broken arm while Sione Mata'autia and Kalyn Ponga suffered head knocks which sidelined them for the rest of the contest.

The Knights have won four of their past five against the Eels but face a daunting assignment this time around with the Parramatta attack firing on all cylinders despite the loss of playmaker Mitch Moses.

Clint Gutherson showed he is truly the King pulling the strings in the round eight rout of North Queensland while winger Maika Sivo was devastating in touching down four times against the Cowboys. 

The Rundown

Team news

Knights:

Eels: 

Key match-up

Mitchell Pearce v Jai Field: Knights coach Adam O'Brien hailed Pearce's "captain's knock" in the win over Manly while Field was lauded for his outstanding club debut, scoring one of Parramatta's seven tries in the Cowboys rout. The Newcastle veteran will need to stamp his authority on the contest and put the rookie in his place.

Stat attack

Newcastle must shut down Parramatta's off-loading game and up the ante in that area when they have the ball. The Eels rank No.1 with 135 offloads through eight rounds - 40 more than the second-placed Roosters - with Junior Paulo (ranked No.1 with 26) and Ryan Matterson (3rd, 22) leading the way. Newcastle languish in 13th place in that category with prop David Klemmer (25) ranked just behind Paulo.