Both undefeated across the past fortnight, just one point separates the Knights and Panthers on the ladder ahead of their Round 7 meeting at McDonald Jones Stadium.
After an up and down opening few games, the defending premiers have returned to form in impressive fashion over the last two rounds, scoring 97 points and conceding just 24 in wins over the Raiders and Sea Eagles.
With Dylan Edwards firing at the back and Nathan Cleary pulling all the right strings in the halves, the Panthers have shaken off any suggestion of a Premiership hangover and now sit second on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
The Knights will be at home for the second week in a row and will be high on confidence following a tough 34-24 win over the Warriors, which ensured they finished Round 6 sitting inside the top eight.
If they are to be victorious on Saturday night they'll need to overcome a horrible recent record against Penrith, with just one win over them since 2016.
The Panthers have won the last three head-to-head clashes by margins of 18 or more, while at McDonald Jones Stadium they are undefeated in their last five visits.
Match: Knights v Panthers
Round 7 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: No late changes to Adam O'Brien's side. Phoenix Crossland starts at hooker as the Knights prepare for life without Jayden Brailey, following confirmation of an ACL injury for their skipper. Mat Croker is good to go after battling through a leg injury in Round 6. Dylan Lucas is the 18th man.
Panthers: Representative back-rower Liam Martin returns from the hamstring injury he suffered in Round 2 and will start in the second row. That sees Scott Sorensen revert to the bench and Lindsay Smith drop out of the 17 to become the replacement player. There were no other changes an hour out from kick-off.
Match: Knights v Panthers
Round 7 -
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Lachlan MillerFullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
Winger for Knights is number 2 Dominic YoungWinger for Panthers is number 2 Sunia Turuva
Centre for Knights is number 3 Dane GagaiCentre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
Centre for Knights is number 4 Bradman BestCentre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
Winger for Knights is number 5 Greg MarzhewWinger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Tyson GambleFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Jackson HastingsHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Knights is number 8 Daniel SaifitiProp for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Phoenix CrosslandHooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch Kenny
Prop for Knights is number 10 Leo ThompsonProp for Panthers is number 10 Matthew Eisenhuth
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Zac Hosking
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Panthers is number 20 Liam Martin
Lock for Knights is number 13 Mat CrokerLock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Kurt MannInterchange for Panthers is number 11 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Knights is number 15 Jack HetheringtonInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Soni Luke
Interchange for Knights is number 16 Jack JohnsInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie JonesInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon
Replacement for Knights is number 19 Dylan LucasReplacement for Panthers is number 15 Lindsay Smith
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
- The Knights have won only one of their past 12 games against the Panthers.
- The Panthers have piled on 97 points in their past two games.
- Knights left winger Greg Marzhew has scored five tries in his past three games.
- The Panthers have not been defeated in Newcastle since 2015.
- Knights right winger Dominic Young has scored seven tries in his past four game.
Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.