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Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders Tips - Knights to destroy the Raiders in NRL opener?

jeremy-darke
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Last updated: 05 Mar 2024
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Jeremy Darke 05 Mar 2024
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  • Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders expert predictions for Thursday’s NRL game
  • Newcastle Knights expected to start NRL 2024 with 13+ win against Canberra Raiders.
  • Preview, expert analysis, stats, team news & best bet
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Kalyn Ponga
Will Kalyn Ponga have another outstanding season and win back to back Dally M's? (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)
  • Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders Tips
  • Head to Head 
  • Newcastle Knights Form
  • Newcastle Knights Team News
  • Newcastle Knights Team List
  • Canberra Raiders Form
  • Canberra Raiders Team News
  • Canberra Raiders Team List

Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders Tips


Kalyn Ponga and the Knights are tipped to explode out of the blocks, just as they finished the regular season last year, and get a big 13+ win in the rematch of week 1 of the 2023 NRL finals.

The Knights took advantage of their softer run into the finals in 2023, winning their last eight games of the season by an average margin of 23.88 points. 

Not a lot has changed in the Hunter and with the Raiders limping into round one carrying suspensions and injuries I expect the Knights to put on a show at McDonald Jones Stadium and beat Canberra by 13+.

  • Before being knocked out of the finals in week 2, the Knights won 10 straight games.
  • 50% of Canberra’s losses last season were by a 13+ margin.
  • Newcastle have beaten Canberra in 3 straight matches, holding them under 14 points or less in 2 of those.
  • Greg Marzhew scored 22 tries last season and 5 tries in his last 5 games for Newcastle.

Head to Head 


The Newcastle Knights beat the Canberra Raiders three times last season with their third victory being a 30-28 win in the first week of the finals that ended the season for the Milkmen.

The Knights won both regular season matches by a margin of no less than 10 and held Canberra to 14 points or less.

Newcastle also hold the upper hand in the head to head battle since the 2019 season winning 6 of 9 matches played.

Newcastle Knights Form


The Knights finished last season with nine straight wins to claim fifth on the NRL ladder. All the limelight was on the scintillating form of Kalyn Ponga and rightfully so with the Knights fullback playing himself into the Dally M Medal even after missing a good chunk of the season with concussion. 

It wasn’t all about Ponga though, during Newcastle’s final eight games of the season they conceded an average of just 11.55 points per game, compared with the 23.13 average points conceded in their first 15 games of the year. 

On their final spurt they scored no less than 26 points themselves and averaged 34.9 points and 31.44 if you remove the 66-0 drubbing of the Canterbury Bulldogs in round 18.

Newcastle Knights Team News


The Knights are almost fully-fit with their only out for round 1 Jayden Brailey who is recovering from a hamstring strain he picked up at training. 

Newcastle Knights Team List


1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Enari Tuala
3. Dane Gagai
4. Bradman Best
5. Greg Marzhew
6. Tyson Gamble
7. Jackson Hastings
8. Jacob Saifiti
9. Phoenix Crossland
10. Leo Thompson
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Dylan Lucas
13. Adam Elliott

Interchange
14. Jack Cogger
15. Daniel Saifiti
16. Jack Hetherington 
17. Kai Pearce-Paul

Reserves
18. Jed Crtwright
19.Tom Jenkins
20. Will Pryce
21. Brodie Jones
22. Thomas Cant

Canberra Raiders Form


The Raiders squeaked into the finals last season with a negative 137 points differential, while losing five of their final seven games. 

Canberra had an impressive patch in the middle of the season however, winning 10 of 12 matches, although they beat only two teams that played September footy during that span.

All of Canberra’s wins last season where by the margin of 1-12 and to narrow it down even further, 9 of those wins were by a converted try or less. 

Analyse that how you like, but teams that have such seasons will often regress the year after as winning so many tight games tends to balance out the following season.

Canberra Raiders Team News


It is shaping up to be a tough start to 2024 and life after Jack Wighton, with the Raiders carrying a couple of suspensions and injuries into round 1.

Seb Kris has a one-game suspension that has carried over from 2023, while fiery redhead Corey Horsborough is out until round 4 after a grade one shoulder charge in round 26 last season.

Second rower Elliot Whitehead is expected to miss three weeks with a calf injury, while it is still unknown if Corey Harawira-Naera will play again after his sickening concussion last season.

Canberra Raiders Team List


1. Jordan Rapana
2. Nick Cotric
3. Matt Timoko
4. Albert Hopoate
5. Xavier Savage
6. Ethan Strange
7. Jamal Fogarty
8. Josh Papalii
9. Danny Levi
10. Joseph Tapine
11. Hudson Young
12. Zac Hosking
13. Morgan Smithies

Interchange
14. Tom Starling
15. Emre Guler
16. Ata Mariota
17. Pasami Saulo 

Reserves
18. Kaeo Weekes
19. Simi Sasagi
20. Zac Woolford
21. James Schiller
22. Trey Mooney

Verdict

The Newcastle Knights are tipped to start this season the way they ended the last, with a big 13+ win on the back of solid defence that will contain the Raiders to less than 16.5 points.

Greg Marzhew can get his campaign off to a lightning start with at least one try in this match.

Best Bet1: Newcastle Knights 13+ Winning Margin @5/4 at Chasebet - 3 Units
Best Bet2: Canberra Under 16.5 Team Total @9/11 at Topsport - 2 Units
Best Bet3: Greg Marzhew Anytime Tryscorer @5/6 at Neds - 2 Units
Best Bet4: Greg Marzhew First Tryscorer @27/4 at Neds - 1 Unit
Newcastle Knights 13+
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