Newcastle Knights – $1.97 at Bet365
New Zealand Warriors – $1.87 at Ladbrokes
Saturday’s NRL clash at McDonald Jones Stadium sees yet another of the finals contenders decimated by the upcoming State of Origin clash.
Newcastle have four regulars away for next Wednesday’s series decider in Sydney, while two more stars did not survive last week’s win over Brisbane.
SEE ALSO: NRL ROUND 16 BETTING PREVIEW
As such, the Knights’ depth will be sorely tested when they face a NZ outfit whose campaign is all but done after the golden-point defeat to Penrith last time out.
Are the Warriors ready to put the queue in the rack, or will they find their lines against an undermanned Newcastle side?
Newcastle Knights Round 16 team news
The Knights have six of their best missing with Edrick Lee and Kalyn Ponga out injured, Tim Glasby and Daniel Safiti away for Origin III, and David Klemmer and Mitchell Pearce earning late call-ups for the NSW Blues. James Gavet, Aidan Guerra, Danny Levi and Jacob Saifiti all join the forward pack, with Pasami Saulo on the bench. Connor Watson moves to fullback, Kurt Mann shifts to the centres and Hymel Hunt lines up on the wing. Tex Hoy is tipped to cover Pearce in the halves.
Out: Edrick Lee (broken arm), Tim Glasby, David Klemmer, Mitchell Pearce, Daniel Saifiti (all Origin)
In: Aidan Guerra, Tex Hoy, Danny Levi, Jacob Saifiti, Pasami Saulo
NZ Warriors Round 16 team news
Nathaniel Roache wrecked his knee in the loss to the Panthers and will miss the rest of the season. Leivaha Pulu is also out after playing his first game of the 2019 NRL season last week. That leaves two spots available on the NZ bench, with Lachlan Burr and Isaac Luke stepping in to fill the void. Of the eight teams in action this week, the Warriors are the only one with no players away for the State of Origin decider.
Out: Leivaha Pulu (omitted), Nathaniel Roache (knee)
In: Lachlan Burr, Isaac Luke
Knights vs Warriors first tryscorer tips
Hymel Hunt – With Eddy Lee and Kalyn Ponga both out, Hunt looms as the go-to guy in Newcastle’s back half. He has seven tries from the centres this year and should see a few good chances out on the wing.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – Ponga’s absence could impact the tryscoring options for both sides, as last year’s Dally M Medal winner should have the better of Connor Watson in the battle of the fullbacks.
Newcastle vs NZ Warriors NRL stats and trends
- The Knights are on a roll with six wins from their last seven games
- Newcastle are the second-worst team in the NRL for penalties conceded with 114
- NZ rank third in the comp for line breaks (60) and fifth for tackles (5,023)
- The Warriors have recorded three wins and three defeats in their last six outings
Knights vs Warriors NRL Round 16 match predictions
Newcastle are in top form and play a good, honest style of football, but they do not have the squad depth to cover six first-team absentees without missing a beat. Although the Warriors are wildly inconsistent, their stars should do enough to get them a much-needed away win.
New Zealand Warriors by 1-12 points – $3.20 at Sportsbet
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