This is a massive game for the Knights after starting the season with losses in three of their first four games.

It doesn't matter that the losses were by a combined 10 points - wins are the only thing that counts for a team that is supposed to be top eight material.

They haven't scored more than 14 points in any game and Nathan Brown has to keep tinkering with his team's offence if they are going to play in the post-season.

Manly defied the odds to overcome the Rabbitohs after losing Tom Trbojevic and there's no reason why they can't carry that same conviction into this week's clash and spring another upset.

Match: Knights v Sea Eagles

Round 5 -

Full Time
Knights

Home Team

Knights

Scored 18 points
Sea Eagles

Away Team

Sea Eagles

Scored 26 points

Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

The Rundown

Team news

Knights: Sione Mata'utia is out, with his place in the second row taken by Mitchell Barnett (No.17). Connor Watson has been passed fit and will come off the bench, while James Gavet (sternum) returns after missing last week. Knights winger Edrick Lee has scored four tries in four games against the Sea Eagles. Along with Mata'utia, Kurt Mann was omitted 24 hours before kick-off, while Herman Ese'ese and Tautau Moga were the last players cut on game day.

Sea Eagles: The Sea Eagles will line up 1-17 as named on Tuesday for Daly Cherry-Evans' 200th game. Lachlan Croker and Kelepi Tanginoa were cut an hour prior to kick-off, while Trent Hodkinson and Taniela Paseka were omitted 24 hours before game time.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Brendan Elliot
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Edrick Lee
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Hymel Hunt
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Moses Suli
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brad Parker
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kane Elgey
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Danny Levi
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 James Gavet
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 17 Mitchell Barnett
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Tim Glasby
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Aidan Guerra
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Manase Fainu
  • Interchange for Knights is number 16 Daniel Saifiti
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Jack Gosiewski
  • Interchange for Knights is number 18 Josh King
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Corey Waddell
  • Interchange for Knights is number 19 Connor Watson
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Toafofoa Sipley

Key match-up

Mitchell Pearce has to raise the bar if the Knights are going to live up to expectations in 2019. He has to quickly get used to new halves partner Mason Lino and get this team's attack into gear. Pearce has a tough battle ahead with Daly Cherry-Evans, who has played well in the past two games after a slow start to the season.

For the Knights to win

Defence hasn't been a problem as such, but scoring points has. They need to build pressure with strong running and quick play-the-balls to give Pearce and Kalyn Ponga more space to create scoring chances. Pearce is due for a big game and Saturday might be the day.

For the Sea Eagles to win

They will no doubt miss Trbojevic, but the Sea Eagles have learned a bit about themselves over the past fortnight and Des Hasler has a knack for making players believe that it's all about the system rather than what one person brings to the table. They face a somewhat desperate Knights on Saturday and will be counting on strong leadership from Cherry-Evans and the inspirational Jake Trbojevic.

Brett Kimmorley says

Dessie is getting Manly to play tough and grind out wins, they are very good defensively. Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake have been really good in the middle. If they can get Daly Cherry-Evans some time to play it will really help. For Newcastle, we saw David Klemmer make a massive statement in week one but we haven’t seen that performance from him since. Kalyn Ponga looked much more comfortable back at fullback. Knights by 1

Knights Stat Attack

Dave Klemmer hasn't let anyone down since arriving at the Knights this season. Klemmer is first in the NRL in post contact metres (294), second in runs (81) and fourth in run metres (769).

Sea Eagles Stat Attack

Manly overcame the Bunnies despite a horrible completion rate (58%) and eight more mistakes than the opposition. Jake Trbojevic rolled his sleeves up with 45 tackles and Marty Taupau ran for 206m - both team-highs.

And another thing ...

Manase Fainu continues to turn heads with his lively performances off the bench for the Sea Eagles. Used as a back-up hooker to Api Koroisau, Fainu played a key role in the 13-12 win over the Rabbitohs, making 35 tackles, four tackle breaks and scoring a crucial try in 52 minutes of game time.