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There's nothing like a win to revitalise a football side and the Knights will be drawing from that well a lot this week as they prepare for a showdown with the unbeaten Panthers.

As long as Kalyn Ponga's stomach feels better the Knights have an excellent chance to rattle the Panthers' cage. Ponga - despite a gastro illness - ran for 172 metres, scored two tries, set up two other tries, made two line breaks and eight tackle busts in last week's win over Cronulla. Imagine what he can do fully fit.

While the Knights are glad they've got Ponga, the Panthers are very grateful for Nathan Cleary, whose eight-point haul in the final three minutes (a two-point field goal, try, conversion) against the Broncos saved the day last round.

The Panthers are also at home at BlueBet Stadium and haven't lost there yet in 2021.

Panthers v Knights

The rundown

Team news

Panthers: Fullback Dylan Edwards makes his return from a broken hand allowing Stephen Crichton to go back to his preferred centre position to replace the suspended Paul Momirovski.

Kurt Capewell was named in the centres earlier in the week but he now reverts to the back row and Liam Martin goes back to the bench.

Hooker Api Koroisau (wrist) dropped out of the squad an hour before kick-off and Robert Jennings is the 18th man.

Momirovski and Scott Sorensen were the two players to drop out of the squad on Wednesday.

The Panthers have conceded only two second-half tries this season.

Knights: The Knights will line up 1-17 with Pasami Saulo the last man omitted an hour before kick-off and Gehemat Shibasaki 18th man.

Hymel Hunt suffered a hamstring injury against the Sharks and is out of the side, replaced on the wing by Starford To'a.

Playmaker Phoenix Crossland (knee) was included on the extended bench but dropped out of the side 24 hours before kick-off along with Simi Sasagi.

Tex Hoy (hamstring) remains sidelined.

The Knights were one of only three teams who did not lose to the Panthers in 2020 (drew 14-all in round three).

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Panthers is number 21 Dylan Edwards
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie Staines
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'a
  • Centre for Panthers is number 1 Stephen Crichton
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Matt Burton
    Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Brayden Musgrove
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Blake Green

Forwards

  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch Kenny
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
  • Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Kurt Capewell
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
    Lock for Knights is number 13 Connor Watson

Interchange

  • Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Tyrone May
    Interchange for Knights is number 14 Sauaso Sue
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Spencer Leniu
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Josh King
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Liam Martin
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones

Reserves

  • Reserve for Panthers is number 18 Robert Jennings
    Reserve for Knights is number 20 Gehamat Shibasaki

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara

Last updated:

Key match-up

Isaah Yeo v Connor Watson: Different body shapes entirely but locks Yeo and Watson are vital cogs in their respective forward packs. Yeo made 49 tackles last weekend while Watson racked up 50 over the Sharks - and both men ran for around 100 metres. That kind of hard, grinding work lifts the whole team. They've each got a nice off-load, darting run, and ball-playing skill in them to turn a game.

Stat attack

The Knights are second in the NRL (behind the Roosters) in support play with the Panthers a little further down the list than you might expect in seventh place.

 

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