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Newcastle will square off against Brisbane on Thursday night desperate to make amends in front of their home crowd after three heavy defeats at McDonald Jones Stadium in recent matches. 

Adam O'Brien's men secured a relieving win over the Bulldogs in Magic Round but they face an uphill challenge in the form of the Broncos, who have hit form and are beginning to show signs of the club they once were in the glory years.

It will be an intriguing occasion for Knights recruit Anthony Milford, who is expected to line up against the Broncos after departing the club last season.

Milford, who played 151 games for Brisbane, became much maligned towards the end of his Broncos stint and will have a point to prove in his first match in the NRL since September last year. 

Both sides enjoyed even spoils in 2021 with Newcastle winning 28-20 early in the year before the Broncos avoided the wooden spoon with a 35-22 win in the final round of the regular season.

Sportsbet Betting preview: Knights v Broncos

The Rundown

Team news

Knights: No further changes for the home side after Dane Gagai was a huge inclusion to the run-on team having recovered from a cheekbone injury. Tyson Frizell is also back and Anthony Milford will play five-eighth in his first game since September. Milford replaces Tex Hoy who drops out of the side along with Enari Tuala.

Broncos: Skipper Adam Reynolds is out after failing a fitness test on a groin strain on Thursday. He is replaced by Ezra Mam, who makes his NRL debut. Kurt Capewell will lead the side in Reynolds' absence. Te Maire Martin will play despite concerns over a hip injury last week.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Te Maire Martin
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
    Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
    Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
  • Centre for Knights is number 20 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Broncos is number 4 Herbie Farnworth
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Dominic Young
    Winger for Broncos is number 5 Selwyn Cobbo
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Anthony Milford
    Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Tyson Gamble
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Adam Clune
    Halfback for Broncos is number 21 Ezra Mam

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Broncos is number 8 Corey Jensen
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Chris Randall
    Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Billy Walters
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
    Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Kurt Capewell
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett
    Lock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick Carrigan

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Phoenix Crossland
    Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Cory Paix
  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
    Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Kobe Hetherington
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Leo Thompson
    Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Thomas Flegler
  • Interchange for Knights is number 17 Mat Croker
    Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Keenan Palasia

Reserves

  • Replacement for Knights is number 19 Simi Sasagi
    Replacement for Broncos is number 22 Jordan Pereira

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Touch Judge: Darian Furner
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:

Key match-up

Daniel Saifiti v Payne Haas: Two NSW Origin bookends go head-to-head in a battle that will help dictate who wins the middle and allows their outside backs some early ball. Saifiti has been well-below his best form this season after only 12 months ago was rated one of the best in the game. He showed glimpses against the Bulldogs last week but will need a big one against Haas, who continues in leaps and bounds as one of, if not, the most dominant forwards in the game.

Stat Attack

Brisbane's attack has clicked in their four-game winning streak, piling on more than 30 points in a game three times in the past month. Whilst they're only averaging 19 points per game for the season, defensively they've gone from a side who conceded 29 per outing in 2021 to just 16 this year. Adam Reynolds' brilliance has helped the side pile on the points but it's their defensive resolve that has really aimed up 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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