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Newcastle and Parramatta go head-to-head at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday in a rematch of last year's week one finals clash, where the Eels ended the Knights' 2021 campaign.

The Eels have enjoyed recent success in the Hunter, winning four of their past six games, and will be looking to bounce back against a struggling Knights side after being stunned by the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday.

Eels coach Brad Arthur conceded the side wanted to "score on every play" instead of build into a match, something the Knights were also guilty of against the Dragons at WIN Stadium.

The Knights produced an improved performance last start but couldn't come up with the game-winning play late, instead conceding a field goal and try in the final three minutes to suffer their fourth loss of the season. 

With some rain predicted in Newcastle on Sunday, the match could provide the sides with the chance to get back to their basics as both look to get back in the winner's circle.

Sportsbet Betting preview: Knights v Eels

The Rundown

Team news

Knights: Adam Clune has been named to return in the halves after he was a late withdrawal against the Dragons due to a knee injury. His return shifts Phoenix Crossland back to the bench and Simi Sasagi to 18th man. Tex Hoy also remained in the extended squad after the 24-hour update.

Hymel Hunt will play NSW Cup this weekend as he continues to work his way back from a knee injury.

Eels: Representative prop Junior Paulo makes a return after missing the Easter Monday clash through suspension, shifting Oregon Kaufusi to the bench. Marata Niukore (leg tightness) is out, replaced by Will Penisini in the centres with Hayze Perham coming onto the wing. Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been named despite picking up an ankle injury on Monday. Mitch Rein reverts back to the reserves with Jakob Arthur coming onto the bench.

No changes in the 24-hour update on Saturday.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
    Winger for Eels is number 2 Hayze Perham
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
    Centre for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Enari Tuala
    Winger for Eels is number 5 Bailey Simonsson
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Jake Clifford
    Five-Eighth for Eels is number 17 Jake Arthur
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Adam Clune
    Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Chris Randall
    Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
  • Prop for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
    Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Brodie Jones
    2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Kurt Mann
    Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
    Interchange for Eels is number 14 Makahesi Makatoa
  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Phoenix Crossland
    Interchange for Eels is number 15 Ryan Matterson
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Leo Thompson
    Interchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
  • Interchange for Knights is number 18 Simi Sasagi
    Interchange for Eels is number 18 Bryce Cartwright

Reserves

  • Replacement for Knights is number 17 Sauaso Sue
    Replacement for Eels is number 20 Wiremu Greig

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Jake Clifford v Dylan Brown: Both playmakers are the architects to their respective side's ability to play eyes up footy and will be crucial to getting a result on Sunday. Brown's started the season strongly, adding another try assist against the Wests Tigers to take his overall tally to seven after six games. Brown's running game has been his strongest point with the Eels No.6 averaging 120 metres per outing in yardage. Clifford has taken on more of a management role in recent weeks with Adam Clune's knee injury and needs to step up on home turf if the Knights are going to match it with the visitors.

Stat attack

Newcastle's attack has been non-existent in the past month of football to coincide with four straight losses. Their opening two weeks produced 46 points at an average of 23 per game. Since then they've dropped to just 10.5 per match with the side losing the possession and completion battle each contest. The Eels, aside from last week's Wests Tigers loss, tend to get those basic areas right and build a match. They're in the top three for both possession average (53%) and completions (80%) per game this season.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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