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The St George Illawarra Dragons come up against a red hot Newcastle Knights in their crucial Round 10 clash.

The Dragons have lost three in a row and have slipped outside of the top eight, while the Knights have turned their season around winning three in a row and are a chance to win their fourth match consecutively for the first time since 2015.

After nine rounds of competition, the Knights have only scored two more points than the Dragons this season with 162, but the noticeable difference comes in defence, with the Dragons conceding 26 more points than their opposition.

Sitting side by side on the ladder in 9th and 10th place, the Dragons can be motivated by their strong record over the Hunter based team, winning eight of the past 10 matches and 27 of 38 overall.

Danger man

The infinite potential of Knights fullback, Kalyn Ponga, has been on show recently scoring in four straight matches for the Knights.

After switching back to his preferred position at the back, Ponga has been on fire and played a significant role in the Knights season revival with; five line-break assists, 37 tackle breaks, seven line-breaks, four tries and five try-assists. The Dragons will need to suppress Ponga come Sunday night. 

Key matchups

Graham v Klemmer

English enforcer James Graham comes up against NSW and Australian enforcer David Klemmer in a battle of the giants that is sure to entertain.

Klemmer has been unstoppable since joining the Knights this season, averaging 176.9 running metres and ranking third best in the entire league for total running distance. Defensively the rampaging forward is stronger than ever, making 330 tackles at an impressive 96.9% efficiency.

Graham always looks to be continually working while he’s out on the field, and it’s backed up in his stats. Graham played 66 minutes last week and ran a lung-busting 16 times and made 41 tackles.

Field v Watson

After biding his time and getting a spot back in the first grade team, Field comes up against a similar player in Newcastle Knights five-eighth Connor Watson. 

Older than Field by less than a year, Watson has played 60 matches in the NRL to Field’s seven appearances. But Field proved last week he can hold his own in the top-flight crossing for the first try of his young career.

In Round 9 last week, Field ran 15 times for an impressive 159 metres on top of one try and one line-break. While Watson, ran six times for 43 metres and failed to gain any attacking stats in the Knights victory.

Despite their similar age and vastly different experience, the contest between the two young live-wires in the halves will be one to keep an eye on.