IT is ‘Magic’ time in the NRL and hopefully the two bottom teams in the 2022 premiership can pull a rabbit out of their hat and produce a good contest this Friday night at Suncorp Stadium. Check out our preview and betting tips for the Canterbury vs Newcastle clash below.
Suncorp Stadium, Friday 13th May, 6.00pm (AEST)
1. Matt Dufty 2. Brent Naden 3. Jake Averillo 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Luke Thompson 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Corey Waddell 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Josh Jackson 14. Bailey Biondi-Odo 15. Joe Stimson 16. Max King 17. Chris Patolo 19. Josh Cook 20. Jackson Topine 21. Brandon Wakeham 22. Jayden Okunbor 23. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 24. Paul Alamoti 25. Ava Seumanufagai
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Tex Hoy 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Mitchell Barnett 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Leo Thompson 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Sauaso Sue 20. Brayden Musgrove 21. Jaron Purcell 22. Krystian Mapapalangi 23. Kobe Rugless 24. Ben Talty
Canterbury and Newcastle have had horror campaigns this season with 2-7 records to occupy the last two spots on the ladder. The 6pm Friday timeslot is the perfect time for this cellar-dwelling duel which kicks-off the one-stop shop that is Magic Round.
The Bulldogs have the worst attack in the competition with a total of 90 points – every other side has reached three figures.
Canterbury opened the season with a grinding 6-4 win over North Queensland before enduring a six-game losing streak that was snapped in emphatic fashion two weeks ago with a shock upset victory over the Roosters.
The Knights have the worst defence in the competition having conceded 242 points. They have lost their last seven matches with their last win coming against the Wests Tigers in Round 2 on March 20.
Newcastle led the high-riding Cowboys at halftime last week before North Queensland smashed them in the second half to cement their place in the top four.
So, it should be a belter then, hey.
But desperate times demand desperate measures which can produce a decent game of footy. Both sides have nothing to lose and everything to gain in the opening clash of the rugby league extravaganza at the old Lang Park.
The Knights welcome back halfback Adam Clune from injury with backrower Mitch Barnett also returning from suspension. They also have Kalyn Ponga at fullback and he is due to justify his new mega-deal at the Knights.
The Doggies have class in their backline too with Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton.
It is hard to see this being a blow-out either way especially given that both sides struggle to score and Magic Round is being played in the middle of a fortnight of forecast rain in Brisbane.
The skies have opened on a regular basis this week in the Sunshine State capital so points will be at a premium.
The Bulldogs recent form has been better than Newcastle’s – that’s not hard – and they have had a win in the past fortnight. They have proven they can grind out a win and that’s what they should do again against the Knights.
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