Friday Night Football

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Knights v Broncos

Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett goes into the clash against his former chargers without skipper Kurt Gidley, after the star pivot was ruled out with a shoulder injury that is expected to sideline him for a month. He has been replaced by youngster Ryan Stig. The Knights  beat the Sharks 18-6 last week, but lost at home in the opening round to the Dragons.

The Broncos  have also suffered a big injury blow, with Corey Parker set to miss up to two months of football following surgery on his thumb. Veteran front rower Petero Civoniceva comes off the bench to start his first match for Brisbane since 2007 in a rejigged pack, while Scott Anderson comes into the squad for the first time this season. After winning away from home to Parramatta in the opening round, the Broncos will be looking to bounce back from their last minute round two loss to the Cowboys.

History – Brisbane has a good record against Newcastle, having won 25 of the 37 matches between the sides, including the last two and seven of the past ten. The Broncos triumphed 26-6 at Hunter Stadium in Round 24 last year.

Dangermen – Jharal Yow Yeh  has scored the first try for the Broncos in both of their games this season and represents a big threat to the Knights line.

Big name signing Darius Boyd  is yet to cross the tryline for his new club this season and will have additional responsibility with Kurt Gidley missing, but will relish the challenge against his former teammates.

Prediction – The Broncos can continue their domination of the Knights, who will dearly miss Kurt Gidley. Broncos 1-12

Dragons v Tigers

Both of these teams have made a mixed start to the new campaign, with a win and a loss in the opening two rounds. The Dragons , who will be boosted by the return of centre Matt Cooper for this match, suffered a disappointing 30-4 loss to the Bulldogs last week, while the Tigers , went down 22-18 to defending premiers Manly, will be without Matt Utai.

History – There hasn’t been much between these sides, with St George-Illawarra holding a slight 12-11 historical advantage. Their domination at WIN Jubilee Oval is much more evident however, with four wins in the five meetings between the sides there. The clubs met three times in 2011, with the Tigers winning the two most recent clashes.

Dangermen – The Dragons lacked attacking threat last week, and the return of 2011 leading tryscorer Matt Cooper  is a big boost to their chances of beating the Tigers.

Winger Beau Ryan  has made a great start to the new campaign for the Tigers, following up a double in the opening round with another four-pointer against the Sea Eagles a week ago.

Prediction – The Tigers came up against a strong Manly outfit last week and weren’t disgraced in losing to the defending Premiers. They should have too much firepower for the Dragons, who were poor last week. Tigers 1-12