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Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

GIO Stadium, Canberra, Friday 25th August, 6pm AEST.


Overview

The Raiders’ season was effectively ended by a narrow loss to the Penrith Panthers last week and they need to beat Newcastle to keep any remaining top eight hopes alive.

Even if they beat the Knights, then they still might see the finals aspirations fall away with other results and if not, then they will have to beat Minor Premiership winners Melbourne away from home in the final round.

Last season, the Raiders were one of the most fluent, fluid and exciting attacking sides in the competition and they went within a whisker of making the Grand Final. Unfortunately, the team has been disjointed and, occasionally, disinterested this year.

For the Knights, three wins on the bounce before last week’s crushing loss to the Storm gave them hope of avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon. But the Tigers have also lifted so Newcastle will be keen to get the win and continue their recent ascendancy. 

Despite their position in the ladder, Nathan Brown is building something positive and with a strong influx of recruits on the way, things are finally looking up for the Knights.

Recent Meetings

2017 – Rd  10 Newcastle Knights 34 def. Canberra Raiders 20 at McDonald Jones Stadium

2016 – Rd 17 Canberra Raiders 29 def. Newcastle Knights 25 at GIO Stadium

2016 – Rd 3 Newcastle Knights 24 drew Canberra Raiders 24 at McDonald Jones Stadium

2015 – Rd 18 Canberra Raiders 36 def. Newcastle Knights 22 at GIO Stadium

2015 – Rd 13 Canberra Raiders 44 def. Newcastle Knights 22 at McDonald Jones Stadium

The Knights count the Raiders as one of their few scalps of the season so far but Canberra have won three of the last five meetings. Canberra will be confident of picking up the win and improving their points differential along the way.

Selected Teams

CANBERRA NEWCASTLE
Jack Wighton11Nathan Ross
Nick Cotric22Ken Sio
Jarrod Croker33Dane Gagai
Joseph Leilua44Peter Mata’utia
Jordan Rapana55Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Blake Austin66Jack Cogger
Aidan Sezer77Trent Hodkinson
Junior Paulo88Daniel Saifiti
Josh Hodgson99Danny Levi
Shannon Boyd1010Josh King
Josh Papalii1111Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Joseph Tapine1212Jamie Buhrer
Elliott Whitehead1313Mitchell Barnett
 INTERCHANGE 
Kurt Baptiste1414Joe Wardle
Clay Priest1515Mickey Paea
Dave Taylor1616Sam Stone
Luke Bateman1717Jacob Saifiti
 RESERVES 
Jeff Lima18 Brendan Elliot
Erin Clark19 Pat Mata’utia
Royce Hunt20 Jaelen Feeney
Michael Oldfield21 Jack Stockwell

The Facts That Matter

Canberra Raiders

The Raiders are unchanged from their loss to Penrith last week and they’ll be heavily reliant on the try-scoring ability of their outside backs, particularly Jordan Rapana, Joseph Leilua and Nick Cotric, who all have the ability to find the line.

Blake-Austin.jpg

Coach Ricky Stuart will also want to see a return to form for Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer in the halves. The former has been a long way off the form he showed during the Raiders’ 2016 season and needs to show he isn’t a one-season wonder, with State of Origin places also up for grabs.

Canberra’s attack on the edges could work in their favour in the game, with Newcastle’s defence particularly weak in wide areas.

There will be an interesting battle through the middle-third as well with two sizeable packs going head-to-head.

Newcastle Knights

The signs are positive for the Knights despite last week’s hammering against Melbourne and they will be up for the fight too.

That said, rugby league is a results business and the Knights will need to register more wins and make further progress next season to meet their targets and secure the job of coach Brown moving forward.

Nathan-Ross-of-the-Knights.jpg

This week’s job is made all the more difficult by the loss of inspiring five-eighth Brock Lamb, who is replaced by youngster Jack Cogger alongside Trent Hodkinson in the halves.

Luke Yates has also been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury. 

In further changes, Jamie Buhrer moves to the second row as a replacement for the concussed Sione Mata’utia and Mickey Paea is added to the bench.

They are boosted by the return of fullback Nathan Ross after a spell on the sidelines.

Prediction

Everything felt rosy for the Knights until last week. They’d beaten the Dragons, Warriors and the Eels in a tremendous three-week spell, which handed them the opportunity to leapfrog the Tigers and get off the last rung of the NRL ladder. Last week, that came crashing down after a heavy defeat to the Storm.

That may have taken the wind out of their sails so the Raiders should take the points in this one. Canberra by 12 points or under.

Can the Knights get back to winning ways, or will the Raiders keep their faint finals hopes alive? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

  1. Poll: Who wins this game, the Raiders or the Knights?

    1. Canberra Raiders
    2. Newcastle Knights
    20 votes
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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

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