New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights Tips and Odds – NRL 2023 Semi Final

Mt Smart Stadium will play host to Saturday's NRL game between New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights. The game kicks off at 4:05 pm with New Zealand Warriors heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the New Zealand Warriors vs. Newcastle Knights game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Saturday September 16, 2023 at 4:05 pm

Where: Mt Smart Stadium

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights Odds

New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights Preview

The season’s two unlikely fairytale teams fight for the right to head to Brisbane for a preliminary final. Neither side met expectations in week one, so who bounces back harder at a sold-out Mt Smart Stadium?

The Warriors copped a finals lesson in just their first post-season appearance in five years, while Newcastle Knights survived an almighty fright to close out their first playoffs win in a decade in extra-time.

Shaun Johnson’s absence could not have been any more glaring in a 32-6 loss at Penrith with the Warriors’ kicking game abhorrent and their attack aimless.

A bit of backbone in the second half after trailing 20-0 at the break was a positive, but the Warriors’ pack struggled to get any ascendancy and some of their edge defence was diabolical.

Johnson has been named to return, with Dylan Walker reverting to the bench and Freddy Lussick dropping out of the 17 in the only changes to the Warriors’ line-up.

The Warriors’ late-season momentum has come to a grinding halt – and realistically they haven’t put in a quality 80-minute performance since trouncing Cronulla in Round 20.

The same can’t be said of the Knights, who have carved out an incredible 10-match winning streak with a host of dominant performances. But their 30-28 qualifying final eclipse was arguably their patchiest effort in months.

The home side looked rattled as the out-of-form Raiders powered to a 16-6 halftime lead, while after Kalyn Ponga, Dominic Young and Tyson Gamble engineered four unanswered tries in 15 minutes, the Knights spluttered again to leak two late tries and head into extra-time where they got up via a penalty.

The Knights won last Sunday despite halfback Jackson Hastings again succumbing to an ankle injury. Adam Clune, superb in Hastings’ absence in the latter rounds, will return to the No.7. They have also lost Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder) with Dylan Lucas coming straight into the second-row.

The Knights have won four of the teams’ last five clashes, though the 2023 regular season series was split. The Warriors kicked off the Andrew Webster era with a gritty 20-12 win in Wellington in Round 1, but the Knights turned the tables 34-24 in Newcastle in Round 6.

The Warriors have won 12 of their last 14 against the Knights on New Zealand soil – but the Knights did win the last clash at Mt Smart in 2019.

The Warriors have played just three finals at home: a qualifying final win over Canberra in 2002, a qualifying final loss to Parramatta in 2007 and a semi-final defeat of the Roosters in 2008. The Knights are searching for their first finals win on the road since 2013.

The Warriors are 7-2 at Mt Smart in 2023, winning their last four – but it’s arguable that they have struggled to consistently produce their best at their heaving home ground. The Knights have won four straight on the road after winning just one of their first eight away from Newcastle.

The Warriors will be on high alert for the brilliant Ponga, while the Knights’ red-hot three-quarter line matches up very well with some shaky counterparts on the opposite side.

Addin Fonua-Blake and Tohu Harris asserting some dominance through the middle and Johnson controlling the game as he has done so well this season is the key for the Warriors, who are showing hallmarks of a straight-sets exit outfit.

This should go down to the wire with the value sitting squarely with the firepower-laden underdogs.

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Head To Head Bet

Newcastle Knights
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We're tipping Newcastle Knights to win at $2.45 odds.

First Try Scorer

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
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First Try Scorer: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak at $7.00.

New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights Teams

Warriors team:1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Josh Curran 18. Freddy Lussick 20. Taine Tuaupiki 21. Bunty Afoa 22. Tom Ale 23. Edward Kosi

Knights team: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Clune 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Dylan Lucas 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Brodie Jones 19. Enari Tuala 20. Fa’amanu Brown 21. Lachlan Miller 22. Jack Johns