This is shaping as a crucial battle in the race for the finals, with two sides clinging on to spots in the top eight going head-to-head with contrasting recent form.
After three straight wins the Knights succumbed to their worst loss of 2020 last week, humbled at the hands of a Warriors side that had every reason to throw in the towel this season.
The Sharks, meanwhile, had lost two of their previous three before thumping the Cowboys last round, led by rookie half Braydon Trindall in the absence of star playmakers Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan.
Both sides are facing dilemmas when it comes to the halves, with Newcastle still working out how best to replace the injured Blake Green while Cronulla have a new in-form player to squeeze into their first-choice playmaking spine.
Match: Knights v Sharks
Round 17 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: The Knights will line up 1-17. Two changes to the bench from last week with Phoenix Crossland replacing Chris Randall and Brodie Jones in for the suspended Pasami Saulo.
Tautau Moga and Randall were trimmed from the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off. Tex Hoy and Jirah Momoisea were cut an hour before game time.
The Knights have won their past three games at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Sharks: A late switch an hour before kick-off with Scott Sorensen moving into the starting side and Toby Rudolf going to the bench.
Halfback Chad Townsend will return from a calf injury, Josh Dugan is over his knee and turf toe issues and Jesse Ramien's eye problem is no longer a worry, according to coach John Morris on Thursday.
Bryson Goodwin replaces Sione Katoa on the wing with Andrew Fifita also dropping out of the extended squad on Thursday. Jack Williams and Teig Wilton were cut an hour before game time.
Connor Tracey will definitely fill the bench utility role. The Sharks have lost all five games against teams currently in the top eight.
Match: Knights v Sharks
Round 17 -
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn PongaFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'aWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari TualaCentre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
Centre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat ShibasakiCentre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel HuntWinger for Sharks is number 19 Bryson Goodwin
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason LinoFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Braydon Trindall
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Knights is number 8 David KlemmerProp for Sharks is number 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt MannHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Knights is number 10 Jacob SaifitiProp for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell BarnettLock for Sharks is number 15 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Phoenix CrosslandInterchange for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
Interchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'eseInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Connor Tracey
Interchange for Knights is number 16 Josh KingInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Siosifa Talakai
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie JonesInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Royce Hunt
- Referee: Ben Cummins
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
David Klemmer v Toby Rudolf. When Newcastle start games slowly this season they have often found themselves out of the contest quickly, so it's up to the likes of star big man Klemmer to get them on the front foot early. So why have we matched the NSW and Australian Test star up against a rookie bench prop?
It's because Rudolf has been a low-key revelation this year, piling on 150 metres from the interchange last week to once again outshine well-credentialed veterans Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita. In a game between two desperate teams the battle for domination between the two packs will be key, and this pair will play a big role in that.
The Knights will need to rediscover their attacking groove quickly if they'e to trouble the Sharks, who have averaged 27 points per game during the past seven weeks. Cronulla's tally of 71 tries for the season is second only to the Roosters (76) while the Knights are ranked seventh with 58 tries. Powerhouse winger Sione Katoa is the main man for the Sharks with 14 tries in 16 games, equal top of the tryscoring table for 2020 with Tiger David Nofoaluma, Panther Stephen Crichton and Rabbitoh Alex Johnston.