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The Knightly Round 9
NEWCASTLE face a tough assignment at home against the Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Bulldogs will field the same side that fought for a gutsy win over the Brisbane Broncos last Sunday.
The Bulldogs had trailed by six points late in the second half, but a determined fightback saw them steal the game from the Broncos? grasp with less than 10 minutes remaining.
In comparison, the Knights enter this week?s showdown having recorded just two wins from their past six matches, since losing star halfback Andrew Johns in March.
Their only two wins have been against fledgling teams the Warriors (12th) and last week?s second half victory over South Sydney (14th).
There had been fears that former representative prop Josh Perry would be sidelined with an injured arm, initially believed to be broken.
Subsequent tests have shown up some bruising, but the front-rower will line up against the Bulldogs on Sunday.
Perry had been considered by many to be a near-certainty for a Country Origin call-up, but missed out.
Country debutant Kurt Gidley will join Knights lock Daniel Abraham on the bench for Country?s annual clash with City on Friday night.
With the representative season just days from commencing, Knights? coach Michael Hagan said it was important that he had key players available.
?We can ill-afford the loss of too many more senior players, given the way the Bulldogs handled themselves against the Broncos,? he said.
The Knights know all too well how well their opposition can play, after a 48-14 loss to the Bulldogs in round 17 of the 2003 season.
The Knights had recorded a hard-fought 12-6 win against the Bankstown side 12 rounds earlier.
The Knights enter the match as distinct outsiders.
Meanwhile, a tribute to veteren Knights? fullback Robbie O?Davis has been organised.
The three-course dinner, raising money for the John Hunter Hospital?s Cancer Kids, is set down for the 21st of May at West League?s Club in Lambton.
For more information call Mary Maughan on 4953 8226 or 0409 838 839.