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Newcastle's mantle as the most consistent Harold Matthews team in 2014 will go on the line when they take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a blockbuster grand final qualifier at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday. 

The Under-16s Knights claimed the minor premiership following a dominant season, including 360 points in nine games.

As impressive as the men in red and blue have been this year though, coach Tony Gleeson knows it will count for little if they can't continue their stellar form and beat Canterbury.  

Gleeson says the Bulldogs possess one of the competition's most dangerous forward packs and his team must aim up in defence to contain them. 

"We’ve worked really hard on our defence, because we were letting in a few soft points earlier in the year," Gleeson says.

"We were a bit disappointed with letting in 18 points in the last 10 minutes of that last semi final because we really take a lot of pride in defending our line.

"The Bulldogs are a very big side, so we have to make sure our tackle selections is spot on and we are working really hard on our defensive line.

"The key will be keeping them away from our end.

"They have a couple of really big front-rowers and any time they get a sniff down the oppositions end they just load up and try and use their size advantage to bash over the line.

"So our focus is control what we do with the footy and try and kick long and keep them down their end.

"If they do get down our end, then we know where their attack is coming from so we can be good in our contact and scramble to hold them out."

Newcastle recorded a narrow 22-20 victory over Canterbury back in Round 4, a lucky escape considering they comfortably led 20-4 in the second half.   

Coach Gleeson says this match is proof that his side can't afford to let the Bulldogs get a sniff at any stage of the contest.    

"They are dangerous if you give them enough footy," he says.  

"So it will be all about us controlling what we can control and defend really well as a unit." 

Gleeson believes his team has benefited from the week off and pinpoints a number of players to step and star in the all-important Preliminary Final.

"Our captain Brodie Jones has been sensational," he enthuses.

"He has really been a good leader and anytime we’ve been under the pump, he’ll put his hand up and cart the ball forward.

"Tommy Starling has also been good that way.

"He has turned a couple of games for us when we’ve been under the pump and really put a good shot on in defence.

"Brendan O’Hagan has also been good in the halves.

"He is really working hard and directing the side around and that will allow our fullback Matty Cooper to take advantage of any space we get."

While the match-up against the Bulldogs is a huge occasion for the junior Knights, Gleeson has encouraged his team not to let the hype affect their performance.

"The emphasis for the boys has been enjoying the occasion and not letting the occasion get to us," he stresses.

"The quicker we can settle in and play our brand of footy the better."

The Knights tackle the Bulldogs at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Kids eat free and Mother's Day deal

Kids eat free when the Knights take on the Penrith Panthers at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, May 11. As a special Mother's Day treat, when people purchase a Family General Admission ticket, they'll receive a free upgrade to reserved seating. Click here to purchase tickets now.