Newcastle Out To Remain Undefeated

Newcastle Knights. Image courtesy of: Adam Head
The Knights are looking to continue their winning streak on Saturday. Image courtesy of: Adam Head

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Knights v Panthers

Hunter Stadium

Saturday March 28 – 2:05 PM (AEST)




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Newcastle host Penrith on Saturday (AEST) hoping to continue their perfect start to the season.

The Knights are off to an impressive start to 2015. They have recorded three wins in a row, something that hasn’t been done since Andrew Johns steered them around over a decade ago. History tells us that teams which start the season in this fashion tend to fair well when it comes to finals time. Since 1998, 32 teams have been 3-0 after round three, with four going on to win the Premiership , three finishing runners-up and 18 making the Finals .

Against the Titans last Sunday, the Knights' resolve got them over the line. Trailing by four with five minutes to go, Jeremy Smith used his speed and strength to cross under the posts, giving Tyrone Roberts an easy conversion to win the game 20-18. David Fa’alogo comes into the starting side for Korbin Sims (suspended), with Paterika Vaivai taking a spot on the bench. 

The Panthers would still be reeling after going down 20-12 to the Roosters after a few controversial decisions. Penrith started the season in emphatic fashion, defeating the Bulldogs 24-18 in Round 1, before destroying the Titans 40-0 in Bathurst a week later. But the Chooks revealed the Panthers still have a bit of work to do before they can match it with the big guns. They failed to complete almost half of their sets, and missed 31 tackles, stats they can ill afford if they hope to challenge for their first title in 12 years. Coach Ivan Cleary has named an unchanged squad, with Isaac John keeping his No.6 in the absence of Jamie Soward (back injury).  

These two teams faced each other twice last season, with Penrith walking away with 22-point victories on both occasions. While the Knights may be undefeated, the Panthers will be their toughest challenge yet. Punters are struggling to split these two, with many opting to back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in the First Try Scorer market.

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