NRL Warriors v Knights: What you need to know

Warriors v Knights

Kickoff: 4pm, Sunday 5 May

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Live blog updates on RNZ Sport

It seems like a lifetime ago that these two sides met both running red hot in last year’s NRL finals series. Both the Warriors and Knights now find themselves in a bit of hot water having had rather undesirable starts to their 2024 seasons, with Andrew Webster’s side dropping consecutive games to the Dragons and then bottom of the table Titans on Anzac Day.

Meanwhile the Knights have had some very tight clashes, losing three games within a margin of two points, leaving them just behind the Warriors on the table.

The Warriors did show promising signs against the Titans, piling on the points towards the end of the game, but they should never have found themselves in that position after leading 12-0 early.

The Knights provided the shock of the round when they put the high-rolling Dolphins to bed last weekend with a classy 18-14 victory. They are always a dangerous prospect at home, which they’ll be looking to use to their advantage as they try to make it two in a row for the first time this year.

Coach Andrew Webster during NZ Warriors training.

Here’s a look at the teams:

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Kolkstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Tohu Harris

Interchange: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Tom Ale 16. Jacob Laban 17. Bunty Afoa

Knights: 1. David Armstrong 2. Greg Marzhew 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Enari Tuala 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Leo Thompson 11. Dylan Lucas 12. Kai Pearce-Paul 13. Adam Elliot

Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jed Cartwright 17. Brodie Jones

Warriors selections

Kurt Capewell of the Warriors.

The Warriors receive a much-needed boost in experience as they strive to put the last few weeks behind them. Kurt Capewell returns to the backrow after recovering from a throat injury, and Bunty Afoa is set to return from a hamstring injury, providing crucial depth on the bench. This means rookie sensation Jacob Laban moves to the bench, while Paul Roache and newcomer Zyon Maiu’u are excluded from the squad.

Knights selections

David Armstrong of the Knights celebrates after scoring a try during the round eight NRL match between Dolphins and Newcastle Knights.

David Armstrong, who made a try-scoring debut in the Anzac round, will go again at fullback with Kalyn Ponga being out for up to three months. Adam O’Brien has named an unchanged 17 from last Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, however, Jacob Saifiti could be in doubt after failing to finish last week’s game with to a lower leg injury.

Past results

Warriors 40 – 10 Knights (2023 finals series)

Warriors 20 – 12 Knights (round four)

The second round of last year’s finals series was the first game of playoffs football on New Zealand shores since 2008 in what became one of the most famous afternoons in Mt Smart history and maybe one of the most complete Warriors performances in modern history.

The two sides also met in round four just over a month ago which saw the Warriors pick up their much needed first win of the season in a tight 20-12 victory over Newcastle, but it’s been pretty up and down for both clubs since.


The Knights will know that after the last few weeks they’re in with a serious chance of beating the Warriors this weekend. It will be a battle of minds this Sunday.

On paper the Warriors are a superior side and even though we’ve seen them show serious glimpses of being a well-polished team and serious contender for the title, they seem to have gone back to the ways of old defeating themselves in their own minds before they’ve even played the ball. Simple defence lapses, handling errors, unforced penalties contrast against some outstanding defence, well thought out game plans and pure attacking flair.

Either way, the game is shaping up to be a must win with both clubs looking to walk away with the two points this weekend to keep up with the rest of the pack, or risk getting left behind in the bottom eight.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button