Newcastle put themselves right back into the finals conversation with a much-needed win over Canberra and have a run home that would be the envy of just about every one of their rivals.
The Knights looked down and out after suffering heavy losses to Melbourne and the Roosters but Sunday's 34-24 victory over the Raiders keeps them in the scrum of teams fighting desperately for seventh and eighth.
Knights fans will be starting to fancy their team's chances with a finishing run of matches that contains no top six teams.
The added boost of Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best back fit and firing also lifts confidence.
The Knights face Brisbane twice in the run home but 15th-placed Brisbane look likely to present a stiffer test than many would have expected after hanging tough against Penrith then backing up to beat North Queensland.
Match: Knights v Broncos
Round 21 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Knights: Lachlan Fitzgibbon has been promoted to the starting side an hour before kick-off. Mitch Barnett moves into the middle and pushes Connor Watson to the bench with Josh King dropping out of the side and Phoenix Crossland 18th man.
Mitchell Pearce said on Tuesday "unless something drastic happens" at a final training run on Wednesday he was a certain starter for the clash.
Hooker Jayden Brailey has been rested so Chris Randall called into the starting side.
Starford To'a and Jack Johns were the first two players cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.
The Knights have won their past three games against the Broncos.
Broncos: On Wednesday, Broncos coach Kevin Walters said Albert Kelly would come onto the bench and is likely to take on back-up hooker duties with TC Robati the man to drop out of the 17. Robati is 18th man and David Mead was the last player cut an hour before kick-off.
Danny Levi was successful at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night to beat a dangerous contact charge but he was never going to miss any game time regardless of the outcome.
Levi replaces Jake Turpin (ankle) at hooker against his former side while Jesse Arthars comes in for the injured Kotoni Staggs.
Xavier Coates and Anthony Milford were omitted from the extended squad on Wednesday.
The Broncos are aiming for back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening rounds of 2020.
Match: Knights v Broncos
Round 21 -
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn PongaFullback for Broncos is number 1 Tesi Niu
Winger for Knights is number 2 Enari TualaWinger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
Centre for Knights is number 3 Kurt MannCentre for Broncos is number 3 Jesse Arthars
Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman BestCentre for Broncos is number 4 Herbie Farnworth
Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel HuntWinger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Jake CliffordFive-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Tyson Gamble
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Broncos is number 7 Brodie Croft
Prop for Knights is number 8 Jacob SaifitiProp for Broncos is number 8 Keenan Palasia
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Chris RandallHooker for Broncos is number 9 Danny Levi
Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel SaifitiProp for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn
2nd Row for Knights is number 19 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki
Lock for Knights is number 12 Mitchell BarnettLock for Broncos is number 13 Kobe Hetherington
Interchange for Knights is number 13 Connor WatsonInterchange for Broncos is number 14 Xavier Willison
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Sauaso SueInterchange for Broncos is number 15 Rhys Kennedy
Interchange for Knights is number 15 David KlemmerInterchange for Broncos is number 16 Ethan Bullemor
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie JonesInterchange for Broncos is number 19 Albert Kelly
Reserve for Knights is number 18 Phoenix CrosslandReserve for Broncos is number 17 Teui Robati
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
Jake Clifford v Tyson Gamble: Clifford has shown some great signs since arriving in Newcastle and may prove just what the Knights need provided Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce can stay on the field. The tenacity Gamble plays with should serve as an inspiration to his teammates.
Whether it’s by design or not, Brisbane are the lowest-ranked team in the NRL for decoy runs - they have registered only 596 in 19 outings, the only side averaging less than 32 per game.
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