The return of Kalyn Ponga has helped Newcastle emerge from a form slump but he couldn't get them home against the Panthers and it doesn't get any easier against the refuse-to-lose Roosters this week.
The Knights went toe-to-toe with unbeaten competition leaders Penrith last Thursday before poor options and defensive lapses saw them fall away in the second half.
Coach Adam O'Brien has called on his play-makers to step up and convert Newcastle's effort into points with a better kicking game.
Injuries have battered the Roosters on a weekly basis but the 2018-19 premiers continue to defy adversity with teen sensation Sam Walker leading the way.
Knights v Roosters
Match: Knights v Roosters
Round 8 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: A late change on game day with Josh King dropping off the bench and his place being taken by Pasami Saulo. The 18th man is Phoenix Crossland.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Tex Hoy dropped off the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off.
Knights forward Sauaso Sue will play his 150th NRL game.
Roosters: James Tedesco has been ruled out after last week's head knock against the Dragons. Joseph Manu moves to fullback with Matt Ikuvalu on the wing.
Egan Butcher was the other player omitted from the squad on Friday night and Fletcher Baker was omitted an hour before kick-off.
Joseph Suaalii is the 18th man.
The Roosters have won 12 of their past 14 games against the Knights.
Match: Knights v Roosters
Round 8 -
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn PongaFullback for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'aWinger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari TualaCentre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman BestCentre for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
Winger for Knights is number 5 Brayden MusgroveWinger for Roosters is number 19 Matt Ikuvalu
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt MannFive-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Blake GreenHalfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker
Prop for Knights is number 8 David KlemmerProp for Roosters is number 8 Isaac Liu
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden BraileyHooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel SaifitiProp for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
Lock for Knights is number 13 Connor WatsonLock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Sauaso SueInterchange for Roosters is number 14 Ben Marschke
Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob SaifitiInterchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie JonesInterchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
Interchange for Knights is number 18 Pasami SauloInterchange for Roosters is number 17 Siosiua Taukeiaho
Reserve for Knights is number 19 Phoenix CrosslandReserve for Roosters is number 21 Joseph Suaalii
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
Blake Green v Sam Walker: The veteran playmaker will have to reach deep into his bag of tricks if the Knights are to keep pace with the Roosters. Green's form has been patchy since his return from a serious knee injury while his teenage rival Walker, in contrast, has lived up to the huge hype and then some. Four games into his NRL career only defending premiers the Storm have been able to shut him down.
The Knights have made more tackles than any other team in the NRL, leading the No.2 Cowboys by 100-plus, and will likely tighten their grip on top spot against the attack-minded Roosters.
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