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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

The rundown

Team news

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.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'a
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
    Centre for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Brayden Musgrove
    Winger for Roosters is number 19 Matt Ikuvalu
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Blake Green
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Isaac Liu
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Connor Watson
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Sauaso Sue
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Benjamin Marschke
  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
  • Interchange for Knights is number 18 Pasami Saulo
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Siosiua Taukeiaho

Reserves

  • Reserve for Knights is number 19 Phoenix Crossland
    Reserve for Roosters is number 21 Joseph Suaalii

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

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.

Stat attack

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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