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NRL: In-form Knights aiming to tame Bulldogs

Newcastle Knights will look to consolidate their place in the top eight when they take on Canterbury Bulldogs on Friday night.

The Knights are in good form and four wins on the bounce have moved them to seventh place on the NRL ladder.

They can be backed at 3.50 to stay there and play finals at the end of the season, but the competition will be fierce.

The Bulldogs will be one of the sides looking to go past them, as they are just two points below in 10th spot.

Cameron Ciraldo’s side are priced at 3.75 to make the top eight and could end up in there by the end of the round if things go their way.

It means there is a lot on the line heading into Friday night’s clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.

. What: Newcastle Knights v Canterbury Bulldogs
. Where: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
. When: 20:00 (AEST), Friday 31st May 2024
. How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel, Channel 9
. Odds: Newcastle Knights 1.58, Canterbury Bulldogs 2.40

Knights refreshed and ready

Newcastle should be feeling fresh after enjoying the bye last weekend, and will be hoping to carry on where they left off.

The Knights have won their last four games, against the Dolphins, New Zealand Warriors, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans, and should be full of confidence.

All four victories were by the narrowest of margins, however, with the biggest winning margin being just six points.

There is a good chance it will be close again and the Knights can be backed at 6.00 to beat the Bulldogs by 6-10 points.

They are once again missing key players as star centre Bradman Best has been added to a growing injury list that also includes Kalyn Ponga and Tyson Gamble.

Best will be replaced by Krystian Mapapalangi at centre, while Daniel Saifiti is available again following suspension.

David Armstrong is doing more than a good job after replacing Ponga at fullback, scoring five tries in the past four games.

Bulldogs missing key duo

The Bulldogs will also be on a high heading into Friday night’s clash after they smashed the Dragons 44-12 last week.

However, their strength-in-depth is set to be tested after losing star players Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton to State of Origin.

They can take heart from the fact that Toby Sexton is in great form at halfback and can help fill the void while they are away.

Along with Drew Hutchison, Sexton will help form a new-look halves partnership.

Jacob Kiraz will also move to centre to replace Crichton, with Blake Wilson taking his place on the wing.

The Bulldogs did win by 24 points when the two sides met in April this year and it would be some result if they could do the same again - Canterbury are 6.50 to win by 13+ points.

They do love playing in Newcastle however, winning seven of their last nine trips to the Hunter.

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