Can the Knights crawl their way back into finals contention in time? At number 11 on the ladder it is not impossible, but if they are they have to start now and beat the Sharks on Sunday afternoon at Energy Australia Stadium.
Newcastle have two good wins behind them ahead of the Eels and then the Titans and also enjoyed a bye last week to freshen up. They are playing at home this round and face a toothless Sharks’ outfit that they should be able to beat.
Cronulla have been disappointing again this season and find themselves down in the 14th spot for their troubles. They lost last week to the Bulldogs and even though they get Gallen, Barrett and Snowden back from Origin for this one, the boys will be bruised and beaten and feeling blue after NSW’s 23 – 18 loss.
The Knights then are in with a real chance. Gidley comes back from Origin and is the only player backing up for Newcastle giving them extra strength. Gidley put in a heroic performance Wednesday night and expect to see some great leadership from him again here.
It was a surprise result last time these two met back in Round 7, the Sharks claiming a comprehensive 26 – 6 win, but we don’t think they will be able to do it again. Ladbrokes.com.au don’t think so either, the Sharks the $2.85 underdogs while Newcastle are paying $1.42.
Footy Tip of the Match – Kurt Gidley to score first for the Knights at $8 through Ladbrokes.com.au
NRLleague Footy Tip of the Match:
After Kurt Gidley’s brave Origin performance on Wednesday night, punters can expect much of the same from him here. We think he will be good enough to take out the Man of the Match and are betting on him to score the Knight’s first at $8 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Current Head-to-Head Odds:
Knights $1.42 – Sharks $2.85 Ladbrokes.com.au
Round 18 Knights Team:
1. Kurt Gidley 2. Akuila Uate 3. Junior Sau 4. Adam MacDougall 5. James McManus 6. Ben Rogers 7. Jarrod Mullen 8. Ben Cross 9. Isaac De Gois 10. Daniel Tolar 11. Zeb Taia 12. Cory Paterson 13. Mark Taufua
Bench: 14. Matt Hilder 15. Wes Naiqama 16. Richard Fa’aoso 17. Antonio Kaufusi
Round 18 Sharks Team:
1. Nathan Gardner 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Dean Collis 4. Ben Pomeroy 5. Isaac Gordon 6. Trent Barrett (c) 7. Tim Smith 8. Kade Snowden 9. John Morris 10. Luke Douglas 11. Grant Millington 12. Anthony Tupou 13. Paul Gallen
Bench: 14. Josh Cordoba 15. Broderick Wright 16. Paul Aiton 17. Siosaia Vave
Reserve: 18. Taulima Tautai