Round 11: Knights v Broncos preview
Long-standing foes fight for momentum
Breaking through for a much-needed win after falling from first to last over the course of seven miserly weeks, the Newcastle Knights will be determined to get their campaign back on course in front of their home supporters.
Clinching a confidence building victory over the Bulldogs 16-6 in the opening match of Magic Round, coach Adam O'Brien has received added good fortune with Tyson Frizell returning from injury and Dane Gagai an outside chance of playing as part of the extended bench
In addition to the returning cavalry, former Brisbane superstar Anthony Milford will make his club debut after serving a ban imposed by league for an off-field incident last season.
Holding a solid record against the Broncos in recent years with four wins from their previous five clashes, the Knights will have their sights set on making amends on home soil after embarrassing displays against the Eels (39-2) and Storm (50-2) prior to the past fortnight in Queensland.
Making the biggest statement of Magic Round to the delight of supporters throughout the Sunshine State, the Brisbane Broncos will be vying to record five consecutive wins for the first time in five years.
Eviscerating the Sea Eagles 38-0 last Friday in arguably the club's best performance since the departure of Wayne Bennett, coach Kevin Walters will be hoping his side can break a losing run in Newcastle dating back to 2017.
Sitting in seventh position at the bottom of a group of four teams tied on 12 competition points, the Broncos could finish the round in the top four should results fall their way.
Last meeting: 2021 Round 25 - Broncos 35 Knights 22, Suncorp Stadium
Who to watch: Dominic Young is a hard man to miss standing at two metres tall and tipping the scales at over 100 kilograms. Yet for as imposing as the English import appears, his ability on the football field is making rival teams stand up and take notice. Producing 18 tackle breaks, six line breaks and four tries in seven appearances this season, the 20-year-old winger gained plenty of plaudits for a tenacious defensive effort forcing Josh Addo-Carr into touch last week with the game on the line. Facing off against the Broncos for the first time in his career, look for Young to be heavily involved in a rare Thursday night game held in Newcastle.
Cory Paix may not boast the reputation of many of his more esteemed teammates, but in a short space of time the impact hooker has played a critical role in turning the Broncos from also-rans to top eight contenders. Consistently delivering in just under a half of game time over recent weeks, the 22-year-old has made a habit of elevating the side's attacking potency upon coming off the bench midway through the first half of matches. Facing off against a Newcastle outfit that has struggled to play for 80 minutes over the past two months, Paix shapes as a player capable of breaking the game open on Thursday evening.
Favourite: Holding a strong historical record in the Hunter to go with an impressive run over the past month, the Broncos are expected to notch up their third win on the road this season.
My tip: It remains to be seen whether last week was a one-off or the catalyst needed for the Knights to turn their season around. With several big names returning, including Anthony Milford with a point to prove, the home side will be determined to back up the resolve of last week. Knights by 4.