Having raced into an 18-point lead after just 10 minutes, Canberra somehow managed to allow Gold Coast back into the game and ended up conceding a late try to lose their season opener 30-28.
Ricky Stuart has been forced into a change to his side with Joseph Tapine suffering a broken finger. Elliott Whitehead moves to the second row with Luke Bateman starting at lock.
Canberra were forced to make almost 100 tackles more than Gold Coast last week. The Raiders made 340 compared to the 243 that the Titans made. This number must be reduced against the Knights or else another defeat could be on the cards.
Newcastle’s new-look side began the season with a win after a thrilling golden point victory over Manly last weekend. Mitchell Pearce’s drop goal sealed a 19-18 win and give the Knights hope of a much improved season.
Nathan Brown has kept faith with the same 17 that claimed the win last week although Jamie Buhrer is a slight doubt and may be a late withdrawal.
The Knights completed at 87% last weekend with them getting to the end of 40 of their 46 sets. That kind of completion rate will help build pressure and a similar number in this game may help Newcastle begin the season with back-to-back wins.
Canberra host Newcastle in an important game for both teams. Canberra blew an 18-point lead against Gold Coast last week whilst Newcastle won a golden point thriller against Manly as the two sides began the season in contrasting fashion. The Raiders will need to improve on several aspects of their game and may find it difficult against a buoyant Knights side. This is a tough game to call and it could go either way but it may be worth siding with Newcastle who come into the game on a high.
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