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NYC match preview: Round 11

Name - Indigenous Rd 10 Knights v Raiders
Location - McDonald Jones Stadium
Date - Sunday 14 May 2017
Image - Shane Myers ©NRL Photos 2017
Nash Birch is named to start at hooker this Sunday.

Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
Date: Sunday May 21
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 9.45am

Squads

Knights

1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Hayden Loughrey, 7. Josh Ralph, 8. Cameron King, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Jayden Butterfield, 11. Zac Hosking, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Jack Johns. Interchange: 14. Dylan Clark, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Pasami Saulo, 17. Eddy Tuilotolava, 18. Cory Denniss, 19. Jack Cogger, 20. Jayden Hocking, 21. Luke Huth, 22. Lachlan Farr, 23. Will Davies.

Panthers

1. Caleb Aekins, 2. Brian Too, 3. Richie Munchow, 4. Sam Martin-Savage, 5. Daniel Brown, 6. Dean Blore, 7. Jarome Luai, 8. Teyita Mapapalangi, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Stefano Hala, 11. Reed Izzard, 12. Billy Burns, 13. Liam Martin. Interchange. 14. Mitch Kenny, 15. Jake Brennan, 16. Tom Skinner, 17. Vondell Williams-Liolevave, 18. Mitch Revell, 19. Ray Maroun, 20. Jamon Wormleaton, 21. Ben Cartwright, 22. Mose Feilo, 23. Meni Luke.

Match Analysis

NYC Newcastle Knights coach Todd Lowrie hopes his side can use momentum from back-to-back wins when they take on the Penrith Panthers at home this Sunday.

“The last two weeks have been good,” Lowrie commented.

“We have played teams who are similar to us on the ladder and we’ve performed really well against them, so it's a big challenge for us this week against the Panthers who are leading the comp and have been all year.

“It definitely does help having a settled team but it’ll be a real test for us this week.”

The Knights Under 20s welcome back Brayden Musgrove to the starting side in the centres.

“He has been really good for Maitland the last couple of weeks so he deserves his chance to come back in,” said Lowrie.

“Brayden has been really good for us for most of the year, unfortunately when Cory (Denniss) dropped back Brayden was the one who missed out.

“I have got no doubt at all he’ll come back in and do a really good job for us and he’s a big part of our team.

“Cory looks to be playing Reserve Grade which is good, he’s been good for us the last couple of weeks and deserves his chance to go back up.”

The NYC coach maintains whilst they’ve had a couple of dominant weeks, they have identified some areas for improvement.

“We have had a couple of big wins the last few weeks so we’re doing some things well, but there’s still some big areas of improvement which the guys have identified,” Lowrie explained.

“The things that we haven’t been doing so well, we need to make sure we fix them up because when you play against the good teams you need to have a lot more right than wrong.

“We need to be a little more dominant in the ruck, our ruck speed has been far too quick lately.

“Our scramble in defence has been quite good but we shouldn’t have to be in a position where we have to do so much of it.”

Where it will be won

As usual, it is goal line defence that will be in the spotlight for Round 11.

“It's a big area of improvement that we have identified but it's also an area that we’ll need to be good in against these blokes this weekend,” admitted Lowrie.

“The Panthers put a lot of points on us earlier in the year, so the boys know the defence has to be really good if we’re going to give ourselves any chance."