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NRL: Broncos the reward for Warriors or Knights

A preliminary final showdown against Brisbane Broncos awaits the winners of Saturday’s semi-final clash between New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights.

At the start of the season both of these sides would have bitten your hand off if offered a chance to be in this position, and for one of them, the fairytale will continue for at least another week.

The Warriors can be backed at 5.00 to reach the grand final, while Newcastle are 8.50 to make it.

The Warriors finished in the top four and earned the right for another chance after losing to the Penrith Panthers last week.

Newcastle needed to keep their hot streak of form going against Canberra to keep their hopes alive, and did just that when winning a thriller on Sunday.

It remains to be seen how much extra-time will have taken out of them, and now they need to go to Auckland and win again.

WhatNew Zealand Warriors v Newcastle Knights
WhereGo Media Stadium, Auckland 
When19:50 (AEST) Saturday 16th September, 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsNew Zealand Warriors 1.52, Newcastle Knights 2.55

Warriors upbeat despite Panthers loss

The Warriors may have been well beaten by Penrith in the qualifying finals last week, but they can still take plenty of heart from the performance.

Penrith are the hot fancy to win the grand final and were leading 20-0 at half-time. However the Warriors showed great spirit in the second half before going down 32-6.

Now Andrew Webster’s side must put that behind them and focus on their second chance, which will be played in front of their own supporters.

The Warriors beat the Knights 20-12 in Auckland at the start of the season before the Knights got revenge in the reverse fixture winning by 10 points.

A lot has happened since those games, but it is fair to say we will be in for another tight game on Saturday.

The Warriors can be backed at 6.50 to win by 6-10 points, while Newcastle are 7.50 to win by the same margin.

New Zealand will be keeping their fingers crossed over the fitness of star playmaker Shaun Johnson, who missed the defeat against Penrith with a calf injury.

Knights continue to fly

Newcastle are the form team heading into the game having won the last 10 games on the spin, but there is a big question mark over whether they can make it 11 in a row.

If they can, it would equal a club record that was set way back in 2001/02 when a certain Andrew Johns was the star of the show.

Now the Knights have Kalyn Ponga, who is at the top of his game and booted the winning penalty to see off Canberra in a thriller on Sunday.

The game is sure to have had an impact on the Knights players and the focus will be on rest and recovery ahead of the trip to Auckland.

Adam O’Brien’s men should be on a high though and he should have no difficulty getting his players up for this one.

Newcastle do not have a great record at Go Media Stadium in Auckland, winning just eight games out of 22 at the venue.

But this is finals football and all the history goes out of the window heading into the game.

The Knights did suffer one blow against the Raiders. Jackson Hastings suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury and is set to miss out against the Warriors.

Adam Clune replaced Hastings during the final three rounds of the regular season, doing a great job, and will step in again.

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