Knights Ready For Battle

Picture: Gregg Porteous/dailytelegraph.com.au
Jarrod Mullen is arguably in the best form of his life. Picture: Gregg Porteous/dailytelegraph.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 9, 2012 – Sydney Roosters 24 d Newcastle Knights 6 at Allianz Stadium
Round 16, 2011 – Newcastle Knights 18 d Sydney Roosters 10 at Hunter Stadium
Round 11, 2011- Sydney Roosters 12 d Newcastle Knights 10 at Allianz Stadium
Round 10, 2010 - Newcastle Knights 34 d Sydney Roosters 18 at Bluetongue Stadium
Round 21, 2009 – Sydney Roosters 30 d Newcastle 18 at Hunter Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 15    Rd 16    Rd 17    Rd 18    Rd 19 
Knights

-

W

W

-

W

Roosters

W

W

W

-

W


Two of the competition’s in-form teams meet at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon, when the battle-hardened Knights  tackle the second-placed Roosters . Since recovering from a mid-season slump that saw it lose six of seven matches, Newcastle has rocketed back up the ladder to fifth with three successive victories, including a 32-14 win at Penrith last weekend.

Kade Snowden has been one of the Knights best in 2013 but will miss this fixture and next week’s against the Broncos being rubbed out for a fortnight after pleading guilty to a grade two striking change for raising his knee into the face of Panthers backrower Adam Docker in round 19. David Fa’alogo will take his place in the front row, with Korbin Sims and Zane Tetavano added to a five man interchange bench.

Roosters superstar Sonny Bill Williams has been named to return from a hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s 40-0 demolition of the Sharks. With the former All Black back in the squad, Mitchell Aubusson drops back to the bench with Isaac Liu relegated to 18th man.

1st Tryscorer

Dane Gagai  has been a key part of the Knights attack that has put on 96 points in the past three weeks but has struggled to get across the tryline himself. Although he opened the season with a double against the Tigers, the 22 year-old has scored just one try in twelve matches since and hasn’t got across the line in his past eight outings.

Kiwi international Shaun Kenny-Dowall  made a slow start to the year but is starting to hit his straps at the business end of the season. He has bagged five tries from his past six matches and will be keen to add to that tally against the Knights much vaunted young centre pairing.

Prediction

Wayne Bennett is one of the greatest coaches in the game and a master at getting his troops ready for battle at the right time of the year but this will be a real test of their premiership credentials with the finals on the horizon. Newcastle will put up a big show here, but it’s to tip against a side that is further strengthened by the return of Sonny Bill after thrashing the Sharks by 40 points last week and has lost just twice since round five. Sydney Roosters by 2

Click here to bet on NRL Round 20 matches