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Fourth-placed Newcastle will be looking to hop off the roller-coaster and claim their first-back-to-back wins since the opening two rounds when they take on last-placed Canterbury.

The Knights have alternated wins and losses for the past seven rounds but the one-win Bulldogs, who collapsed late with victory in their grasp against the Dragons, present a golden opportunity to end that streak.

The struggles of young guns Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best had hobbled the Newcastle attack against Manly and Parramatta but the dynamic duo were back to their best as the Knights raced to a 20-0 lead over the Rabbitohs on Saturday.

Canterbury's 22 points equalled their best output of the season, also against St George Illawarra, but failed to deliver a first-up win for stand-in coach Steve Georgallis.

The Rundown

Team news

Knights: Newcastle have made two late changes to their starting side with Sione Mata'utia and Mitch Barnett coming into the pack in place of Herman Ese'ese and Aidan Guerra who drop back to the bench. Josh King and Gehamat Shibasaki are the final cuts from the Knights 17. Tex Hoy and Phoenix Crossland were omitted from the game-day squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Newcastle have won three of their past four games at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Bulldogs: Canterbury are 1-17 with Dean Britt and Reimis Smith dropping out of the match-day squad. Jake Averillo returns from quarantine at centre with Marcelo Montoya shifting to wing and Christian Crichton out. Brandon Wakeham replaces Sauaso Sue on the bench. Chris Smith and Jack Cogger were cut from the 19-man squad on Saturday.

Canterbury have won seven of their past eight games against the Knights.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Enari Tuala
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Tautau Moga
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Kerrod Holland
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Jake Averillo
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel Hunt
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran Foran
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Lachlan Lewis

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Andrew McCullough
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Jacob Saifiti
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 17 Sione Mata'utia
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
  • Lock for Knights is number 15 Mitchell Barnett
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Luke Thompson

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Brandon Wakeham
  • Interchange for Knights is number 13 Herman Ese'ese
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Sione Katoa
  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Connor Watson
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Renouf To'omaga
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Pasami Saulo
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Ofahiki Ogden

Key match-up

David Klemmer v Dylan Napa: Knights forward leader Klemmer has been so successful adding an offload to his high workrate that he is tied for the NRL in that category with Eels Junior Paulo. Maroons prop Napa topped the tackle count for Canterbury against the Dragons and will have to shut down his Origin rival in the middle if the Bulldogs are to have any hope of sticking with the Knights. 

Stat Attack

The cellar-dwelling Bulldogs need to pull up their socks on both sides of the ball. They lead the NRL in handling errors and are third for missed tackles. It was yet another dropped ball that gifted the Dragons two points at WIN Stadium. Failure to aim up in those categories will condemn them to a very long afternoon in Newcastle.