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NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Knights

The Canberra Raiders are set to face off against the Newcastle Knights in a blockbuster round one matchup on Thursday night at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Raiders return to Newcastle with revenge on their mind after the Knights ended their 2023 season in a semi-final for the ages, which saw the Novacastrians advance in extra time. 

Without key players Corey Horsburgh and Sebastian Kris, the Raiders will have a tough task ahead of them if they are to begin their season with a win. 

After splitting the Pre-Season Challenge with a win and a loss, the Raiders will be looking to continue their development as a footy side and claim the first two points of their season.  

The Knights peaked at the right time last season led by their captain Kalyn Ponga, who helped them secure 11 wins straight and was later crowned the 2023 Dally M medalist. 

Both these sides boast impressive round one records, winning four out of their last five round one matches.

Newcastle are always a tough game. Everytime we play them, it's never easy. We're looking forward to the challenge.

Joe Tapine #336

Last time they met

The Raiders fell short in an epic elimination final last season, going down 30-28 at McDonald’s Jones Stadium in Newcastle. 

Key Matchup 

Leo Thomspon vs Joe Tapine 

Fresh off impressive 2023 seasons, the matchup between the two Kiwi international forwards is one which fans will be looking at with intrigue as they will be integral in laying a strong platform for their respective side. 

Tapine continued his development as the leader of the Raiders forward pack with an average of 155 running metres and 59 tackle breaks across the season. 

Meanwhile, Thompson announced himself as a star of the future in the NRL with an average of 85 running metres and 47 tackle breaks in last year's campaign. 

Both will be coming up against their former side with Tapine debuting with the Newcastle Knights in 2014, while Thompson progressed through the Raiders' pathways before making the move to Newcastle in 2022. 

Fans will be looking on with interest at the first collision between the two barnstorming front rowers. 


This will be the 47th matchup between the two clubs, with the Knights holding a slim advantage with 23 wins compared to the Raiders 21, along with two draws.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.