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Adam O'Brien's enigmatic team, five points clear of ninth place, is looking good to secure Newcastle's first finals berth since 2013 and can keep itself in the top-four conversation by beating the Cowboys.

Consistency has been an issue for the Knights but perhaps they're about to go on a run after securing back-to-back wins for the first time since round two with a nervous triumph against Manly on Sunday.

North Queensland, meanwhile, haven't won a game since they defeated Newcastle in round seven. They have shown heart and promise but failed to execute at the right moments.

Captain Michael Morgan was sensational last week against Souths but coach Josh Hannay lamented the side's "bonehead" errors that led to a 31-30 loss after leading 30-24 with six minutes to go.

The Rundown

Team news

Knights: Newcastle will start 1-17 after Brodie Jones and Tex Hoy were left out an hour before kick-off. Daniel Saifiti has succumbed to another knee injury with his brother Jacob to start at prop and Pasami Saulo returning on the bench. The Knights have won five of their past seven games on home soil.

Chris Randall and Jirah Momoisea dropped off the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off.

Cowboys: Reece Robson (hamstring) and Emry Pere (back) are out, with Justin O'Neill replacing Connelly Lemuelu at centre, Reuben Cotter at hooker and Jake Granville and Corey Jensen joining the bench. Shane Wright and Jake Clifford were the two players omitted an hour before the match. The Cowboys have won five of their past six games against the Knights.

Key match-up

Mitchell Pearce v Michael Morgan. It's probably no coincidence that Newcastle have won back-to-back games with Blake Green coming on board to help shoulder Pearce's load.

The Knights captain will look to continue his side's momentum by outpointing Morgan, who all but dragged the Cowboys to victory last round as he responded to a horror comeback from shoulder surgery a week prior.

Stat Attack

Knights prop David Klemmer has ascended to the top of the offload charts with 39. Eels forward Junior Paulo (36) and suspended Broncos powerhouse Tevita Pangai jnr (29) trail him. Offloading has clearly been a focus for Klemmer in 2020 - last season he produced only 23.