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NRL: Cogger ready to light up Knights

The NRL is back on home soil this week with Newcastle Knights taking on Canberra Raiders on Thursday night.

The double-header in Las Vegas lived up to all the hype, but now normality returns as the Knights and Raiders get their campaigns underway in Newcastle.

It has been an off-season of change for both teams, with some big names heading for the exit door.

However, expectations are high at Newcastle, who will be targeting the top eight and finals and they can be backed at 2.30 to make it.

Canberra could be in for a tough season after the loss of Jack Wighton and are 4.50 to make the top eight.

It may only be round one, but there is already a lot at stake as the Knights and Raiders clash.

What: Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders
Where: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
When: 20:00 (AEDT), Thursday 7th March 2024
How to watch: Channel 9, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds: Newcastle Knights
1.44, Canberra Raiders 2.80

Knights look to hit ground running

Newcastle have looked sharp in pre-season and there is a suggestion they could go well in the 2024 NRL season.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Kurt Mann and star winger Dominic Young have all moved on, but the Knights still have a roster packed with quality.

The addition of Jack Cogger, who arrives fresh from winning the premiership with Penrith, is a big boost and the Knights now have plenty of strength in depth in the halves.

The Knights do have concerns over hooker Jayden Brailey, who is battling to return from an injury picked up in the Pre-Season Challenge.

Phoenix Crossland is on standby to take the No.9 jersey should he miss out.

The Knights have dominated this fixture in recent seasons, winning six of the past eight games, including a thrilling 30-28 win in finals last season.

If it is to be close again, Newcastle can be backed at 6.50 to win by 1-5 points.

Greg Marzhew finished last season well, scoring 15 tries in his last 14 NRL games, and will be a big threat again on Thursday night.

Raiders missing key men

Canberra do have a good record when it comes to round one in the NRL, winning four of the past five opening games.

They also have an even better record at McDonald Jones Stadium, winning on their last six trips to the venue.

However they have lost the services of Jack Wighton, who joined the Rabbitohs, and it is sure to have a big impact.

The Raiders will also be missing Corey Horsburgh and Sebastian Kris through suspension, leaving coach Ricky Stewart with some selection dilemmas.

Ethan Strange has been touted as a potential star of the future and is likely to start at centre.

Canberra can be backed at 7.50 to edge the game by 1-5 points.

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