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With a top-four finish now out of the equation, a home game in the first week of the finals is the goal for the Knights over the final two weeks of the regular season.

To do that they need to win their remaining two games and hope either the Rabbitohs (one loss) or the Raiders (two losses) do them a favour.

The Dragons, on the other hand, are languishing in 13th position. Possibly the only good news for them is they cannot slip any lower.

These two sides both lost last weekend, with the combined losing margin of 59 points a real concern for both clubs. 

The rundown

Team news

Knights: Tex Hoy is out with a hamstring injury, with Mason Lino starting at five-eighth. Pasami Saulo also dropped out of the squad 24 hours before kick-off. 

Gehamat Shibasaki replaces Edrick Lee in Newcastle's 21-man squad after the club had a player exemption approved on Friday. Lee will miss the match to attend to a private matter.

Josh King and Tautau Moga were the two players omitted an hour before the match. 

Kalyn Ponga will return from a rest at fullback but hooker Kurt Mann is suspended. Chris Randall starts at dummy-half and Phoenix Crossland joins the interchange. Hymel Hunt has earned a start at centre and Mitch Barnett will return at lock with Jacob Saifiti dropping to the pine and Josh King at 18th man.

The Knights have won their past four games at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Dragons: Euan Aitken and Adam Clune are out with hamstring injuries, with Brayden Wiliame to start in the centres, Ben Hunt at halfback, Cameron McInnes at hooker, Tariq Sims in the second row, Jackson Ford at lock and Tyrell Fuimaono on the interchange.

Eddie Blacker and Jayden Sullivan were the two players left out an hour before the match.

Young centre Max Feagai will make his debut from the interchange. The Dragons have won eight of their past 10 games against the Knights.

Key match-up

Mitchell Pearce v Adam Clune: Pearce will play his 300th NRL game this year if the Knights make it as far as the grand final. For the Knights to be any chance of achieving that, the man known as Junior needs to be at his best. Clune, on the other hand, has proven he belongs in the NRL in a breakout 2020 season.

Stat attack

The Knights (36) and Dragons (31) missed a combined 67 tackles and conceded 79 points last weekend. This from the sides that rank numbers one and two in the "most tackles made" stat for 2020.