It's only round 13 but this Saturday evening clash in Newcastle could take on a finals-like intensity.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Knights crept into the top four, but after going down to Melbourne and Canterbury in the past two rounds they are suddenly in danger of falling out of the top eight.
They will be desperate to avoid a third straight loss, especially on home turf.
The Tigers only had themselves to blame for last week's surprise loss to the Warriors and don't seem to have what it takes to play finals football.
Match: Knights v Wests Tigers
Round 13 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: Newcastle will start 1-17 after Tex Hoy and Jirah Momoisea were the two players omitted an hour before kick-off. New recruit Blake Green starts at five-eighth, allowing Kurt Mann to shift to hooker in place of Chris Randall. Centres Bradman Best (ankle) and Tautau Moga (dropped) have been replaced by Gehamat Shibasaki and Star Toa, who starts on the wing with Enari Tuala shifting in.
Brodie Jones replaces the suspended Pasami Saulo on the bench. Halfback Mitchell Pearce has scored 12 tries from his past 14 games against Wests Tigers. Randall and Mason Lino were omitted from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Wests Tigers: In a change announced an hour before kick-off, Chris Lawrence (No.16) will start the match, with Sam McIntyre dropping back to the bench. Alex Seyfarth and Luke Garner were the two players left out an hour before game time. In a host of changes from last week, Star hooker Harry Grant (knee) and lock Alex Twal (ribs) are out injured, with Moses Mbye shifting to dummy half, Matt Eisenhuth back at lock, Tommy Talau moving to centre and new recruit Asu Kepaoa debuting on the wing.
Centre Joey Leilua returns from suspension,. Luke Brooks is back starting in the halves - albeit at five-eighth - with Billy Walters dropping to the pine. Russell Packer returns from suspension in place of Ollie Clark at prop.
Josh Reynolds and Elijah Taylor were cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Match: Knights v Wests Tigers
Round 13 -
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn PongaFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Adam Doueihi
Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'aWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari TualaCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Joseph Leilua
Centre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat ShibasakiCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Tommy Talau
Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel HuntWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Asu Kepaoa
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Blake GreenFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Luke Brooks
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Benji Marshall
Prop for Knights is number 8 David KlemmerProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh Aloiai
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt MannHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Moses Mbye
Prop for Knights is number 10 Jacob SaifitiProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Russell Packer
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luciano Leilua
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 16 Chris Lawrence
Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell BarnettLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Phoenix CrosslandInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 12 Sam McIntyre
Interchange for Knights is number 15 Josh KingInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Knights is number 16 Herman Ese'eseInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Shawn Blore
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie JonesInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Billy Walters
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Kurt Mann v Moses Mbye. No, this isn't a match-up between five-eighths, centres or even fullbacks. It is the battle between two makeshift hookers. Whichever of this duo can work best out of dummy half will go a long way towards getting their respective attacks into gear. Then there's the added defensive expectations that come with playing in the middle.
The Tigers had the wood on the Knights last year, prevailing 28-26 in Newcastle in round 19 and romping to a 46-4 victory in round 23 at Campbelltown Stadium. Corey Thompson crossed for two tries in the Tigers' 28-26 road win, while winger David Nofoaluma starred with a hat-trick in the thrashing of Newcastle at Campbelltown.