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Reserve Grade match preview: Round 11

Knights Dejected,170415PB183

Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers
Date: Sunday May 21
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 11.45am

Squads

Knights

1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Cory Denniss, 5. Thomas Cronan, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Jack Stockwell, 11. Braden Robson, 12. Pat Mata’utia, 13. Tyrone Amey. Interchange: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Bradie Smith, 16. Sam Mataora, 17. Pauli Pauli, 18. Joey Morris, 19. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 20. Sam Bernstrom, 21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Panthers

1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Ratu Tuisese, 3. Michael Oldfield, 4. Lachlan Stein, 5. Christian Crichton, 6. Samisoni Langi, 7. Darren Nicholls, 8. Oliver Clark, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Paea Pua, 11. Corey Waddell, 12. Jack Hetherington, 13. Kaide Ellis. Interchange. 14. Cowen Epere, 15. Tyrone May, 16. Tom Eisenhuth, 17. Liam Coleman.

Match Analysis

The Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights are striving for back-to-back wins against the Penrith Panthers this Sunday before a break with the bye.

“I am hoping we can bring our best performance and we can get back on a winning roll,” said ISP coach Simon Woolford.

It has been a while since the ISP side has played at McDonald Jones Stadium, and Woolford says they're hoping that they can turn around earlier efforts.

“It seems like forever since we've played at McDonald Jones Stadium,” smiled Woolford.

“In the first couple of weeks, we got a couple of floggings so hopefully we can put in a good performance this week.

“We are a much better team than we were in the earlier rounds so we should go there with a bit of confidence after beating Mounties.”

Woolford maintains they will be missing a few key regulars.

“Chanel (Mata’utia) is going to be out for an extended period, Jacob Gagan with the bye will hopefully only miss this week,” he said.

“It gives Cory Denniss an opportunity to come back up from the Under 20s, he was doing a good job for us earlier in the year when we had a few guys out busted so he gets another opportunity.”

While there’s a few players sidelined, the Reserve Grade coach said they’ll still field a strong team.

“Pauli Pauli continues to find his feet,” said Woolford.

“Sam Mataora has an improved game, Jack Stockwell and Trent Hodkinson were our best players last week, although Hokko may need to move up to first grade depending on the fitness of Jaelen (Feeney).

“I thought Will Pearsall had his best game for the year last week so a lot of guys hitting form and a lot of guys on the improve after long lay-offs with injury, we just need to keep the momentum going.”

Last time both teams played, the Panthers had a stacked side with NRL regulars Peta Hiku, Waqa Blake and Matt Moylan, but the Knights still managed to claim victory.

“it is important to note that while they don’t have those guys in the side, they’re still a really good team,” said Woolford.

“We spoke about it after the game on the weekend that we need to be up no matter who we’re playing or what team we’re playing against.”

Where it will be won

“It's the same every week, we just need to be good defensively and have the right attitude and the rest will take care of itself,” commented Woolford.

The Reserve Grade coach admits defence needs to be spot on.

“We need to make sure we know what they are going to throw at us and be ready to handle it,” Woolford claimed.